Forage plant cells respire.
Until plant cells are dead or have no oxygen available,
they respire to generate the energy they need for normal activity. Respiration
is the conversion of carbohydrates into energy. See Figure 1.
Respiration is necessary to deplete the forage mass of oxygen shortly
after it has been put in a sealed structure. However, respiration is burning up
carbohydrates (forage quality) and producing heat so its duration should be minimized.
See Figure 2.
Prolonged respiration in the forage mass can reduce forage carbohydrates
levels which can jeopardize the fermentation process. In addition, prolonged
respiration allows rapid mold growth in the forage and forage heating. Minimizing the
amount of oxygen in the forage mass when it is in a sealed structure is the best way
to shorten the respiration period and avoid unnecessary mold growth, quality loss or
a potential silo fire.
[Back to Top]