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Silage Science

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Release Date: January 2025 (runs Alternate Years)

Lead Organisation: IBERS, Aberystwyth University

Small improvements at each stage of the ensiling process can help to reduce waste and improve silage quality, so reducing some of the costs and impacts of ruminant production. This module will develop your knowledge of modern forage and grain ensilage systems, giving you the skills to integrate recent research into your work. It will examine: silage evaluation; fermentation; microbiology; inoculant development; pathogen transfer; and food safety.

Although there will be an emphasis on ensiling grass, the processes for grain, non-arable crops and food by-products will also be described and evaluated, and the benefits of ensiling green biomass for biorefining purposes will be explored.

The module’s units consist of:

  • Fundamentals of silage production - an overview of the ensiling process and an assessment of the environmental impact of silage production.
  • Silage biochemistry and analysis - a detailed look at the biochemical changes that occur during the ensiling process.
  • Silage microbiology - an overview of the key microbes responsible for ensiling and an examination of contamination by undesirable microbes.
  • Silage additives - evaluation of the different additives and their appropriate use.
  • Silage harvest and storage - the technology of harvesting and an examination of storage and sealing options and on-farm silage analysis.
  • Ensiling grass-based forage - an assessment of grassland management and grazing systems for pastures destined for ensiling.
  • Ensiling maize – maize cultivation and harvest, crimped maize and ensiled maize products, maize breeding and listing.
  • Ensiling alternative forages - the challenges of ensiling legumes, including red clover and whole crop cereals.
  • Biorefining and by-products – opportunities for multiple outputs from ensiled biomass including energy, chemicals and animal feed; ensiling the by-products of food production to feed animals and reduce food waste.
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Qualifications which this Module may be Used Towards

PGCert Nuffield Farming Scholarship Option
MSc Sustainable Agriculture Option
MSc Agrifood Innovation Option
MRes Agriculture Option
MRes Agrifood Innovation Option
Professional Doctorate in Agriculture Option


Tutors Name
Dr Sarah Watson-Jones


Victoria Pitts [Silage Science]

The silage clamp audit review was excellent as it demonstrated how to assess a silage clamp rather than just reading about it. I will be putting what I learnt into practice on the farm

Victoria Pitts [Silage Science] Farmer - Farm Secretary Services
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Downloadable Resources

Research Proposal Form Brochure