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Profit-Robbing Yeast And Molds

June 13, 2022

While some yeast and mold species are beneficial, other species contaminate our environment and lead to sickness in humans and animals. Non-beneficial mold and yeast species are profit robbers that reduce the quality of ensiled forages.

Chain reaction

Wild yeast in forages can lead to the heating of silage and TMR in a cascading effect. When forage is properly ensiled, oxygen is eliminated from the forage, keeping it fresh. Once stored silage is prepared for feeding and exposed to oxygen, a chain reaction begins. Oxygen immediately “wakes up” the wild yeast that was dormant in the air-free environment. Wild yeast seeks a convenient food source and silage provides one of their favorites — lactic acid.

As wild yeast multiply and consume lactic acid, they also degrade nutrients like carbohydrates and other sugars. Metabolism generates heat, and the loss of lactic acid raises the pH of the TMR. As the pH rises, the problem compounds as mold and bacteria become active and consume additional carbohydrates and amino acids. This leads to even more TMR heating. When this happens, producers face massive spoilage, and, in turn, their cattle consume a less nutritious TMR and eat less due to the off-flavor and foul odors, all of which lead to additional issues related to rumen function.

This chain reaction can affect your dairy operation’s bottom line. The negative impacts of wild yeast and mold in your forage are threefold:

  1. Reduces the feeding value of forages
  2. Directly alters rumen fermentation
  3. Lessens the efficiency of cattle

Windle and Kung evaluated dry matter intake for heifers fed fresh or spoiled total mixed rations (TMR). The heifers fed the unspoiled TMR consumed 11.69 kg (25.77 pounds) of dry matter per day. The heifers fed the spoiled TMR consumed 10% less dry matter for a total intake of 10.54 kg (23.24 pounds). This study was further confirmation that mold spoils TMR and impacts feed intake.

Dive deeper into the three ways wild yeast and mold can impact your cattle.

What to look for Santo, et. al (2017) collected samples of corn silage and high-moisture corn from farms throughout the United States and then analyzed these samples for wild yeast to and to identify the most common species in these feedstuffs. While there were regional differences, there were seven species of wild yeast which were dominant.

In corn silage, the predominant yeast species were:

  • Candida ethanolica (newly discovered)
  • Saccharomyces bulderi
  • Pichia anomala
  • Kazachstania unispora
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae

In high-moisture corn, they most commonly found:

  • Pichia anomala
  • Issatchenkia orientalis
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Pichia fermentans

Take action against yeast and molds. Start with your local QLF representative. QLF is a nationwide, innovative leader in the developing and manufacturing of liquid feed supplements. Our team is ready to help you maximize your cows’ efficiency and performance.

See the yeast and mold counts for 2022 silage.


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