It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Super Silage!!!
School: Melrose Mid
Area of Science: Biology, Agriculture, Bio-chemistry
Interim: Team Members: Hannah Wofford, Maggie Martin, Rebecca Rush, Maryelle Dickerman
Teacher: Alan Daugherty
Mentor: Keith “Taz” McAllister
Silage is an important part of today’s beef and dairy industries, and they are both common in our area. Our project is about saving money for ranchers and dairymen. It is also about getting the best possible feed for their cattle. We want to save money by using bacteria to break down the silage that dairies and feed lots use. This could also improve animal performance (i.e., greater milk yield and better weight gain). At this point in time prices all over are slowly rising. Dairymen and feedlots spend over $120,000 a month on silage alone. If we could save money using enzymes to break down silage, the results could end in faster production and higher quality in animals, and more money in the stockman’s pocket.
We are going to use StarLogo TNG to represent our problem. Some of our agents will be bacteria, and green chop (freshly cut up plants). These variables will represent the silage making components. Some of the variables will vary. They will have various amounts of moisture levels, size of green chop, compaction levels, and the microorganism amounts added that will break down the silage. This microorganism (or bacteria) is called inoculant. The agents will interact to make the final product over time. Then we will record the values of the different feeds, and how long it took to produce them.
Progress to Date:
We have begun researching the process of ensiling. Ensiling is the act of chopping and compacting silage. This is a major process in our project. Without the cutting, the microorganisms wouldn’t be able to accurately break down the silage. The compacting is also important. Compaction prevents the air from circulating through the fermenting feed, and causing it to rot. Therefore ensiling is vital to making good, efficient, cattle feed.
We are expecting increased efficiency, and increased food value in the least amount of time. What we are hoping to achieve is the optimum size of chopped silage, the level of compaction, and the amount of inoculant to use. We are hoping that our program will show how to optimize the process while maximizing the profit. These results will be verified and shared will local producers.
Fermentation Analysis: Use and Interpretation
Ralph T. Ward
Sil-All Lallemand Animal Nutrition
Telephone: (800) 692-4700
Sponsoring Teacher: Amy Flores
Mail the entire Team