jbs progas® ferm

silage additive for all types of forages

At a glance

  • suitable for all crops (maize, grass, whole plant silage etc.)
  • available in 500 g tin, sufficient to treat 1000 tonnes of forage
  • manufacturer: Chr. Hansen, Denmark

Many biogas plant owners still think that silage additives only make sense in dairy silages – yet using a suitable additive in biogas silages pays off rather fast.

jbs progas® ferm has been developed by the world‘s leading manufacturer of lactic acid bacteria: Chr. Hansen, Denmark. It is an efficient silage additive optimizing the fermentation of energy crops.

Fermentation losses inevitably occur in each fermentation. In addition to these, yeasts will metabolize valuable carbohydrates into volatile components such as CO2 or ethanol during storage.

jbs progas® ferm protects a huge amount of energy by accelerating the fermentation (in the initial phase) and inhibiting yeasts (during storage). Thus jbs progas® ferm saves approx. 50 % of DM losses, consequently providing more feed for your methanogenic bacteria.

In addition to efficiently producing lactic acid, jbs progas® ferm is able to inhibit yeasts, thus improving the silage‘s stability without producing acetic acid in the process.

Reasons for using jbs progas® ferm

  • increases methane yield by 12.9 % (trials conducted at Leipniz-Institut für Agrartechnik Potsdam-Bornim e. V. 2008)
  • contains homofermentative bacteria (forming lactic acid only)
  • improves digestibility if used in dairy farming
  • reduces DM losses
  • lowers the pH
  • increases the silage‘s energy content
  • speeds up fermentation
  • inhibits yeasts
  • reduces the risk of heating after opening
  • reduces the risk of fungal growth and decomposition
  • reduces losses caused by surface or top spoilage
  • reduces losses at the cutting surface
  • wide spectrum of applications

jbs progas® ferm saves and protects energy and nutrients before and after opening.

Biogas trial with jbs progas® ferm

conducted at Leipniz-Institut für Agrartechnik Potsdam-Bornim e. V. 2008

Maize silage (37.7 % DM) was ensiled in four small containers per treatment for 49 days. The trial was conducted in line with DLG regulations.

Homo- or heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria?

One crucial aspect of a successful fermentation is that plant sugars have to be converted into lactic acid as soon as possible. Lactic acid acidifies rapidly, thus lowering the pH and preventing the growth of harmful microorganisms. Not all types of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are equally efficient in forming lactic acid.

Please note: Both alcohol and the CO2 generated by this energy are highly volatile. jbs progas® ferm consists of homofermentative LAB only, thus preserving valuable nutrients in the silage.

Fermentation of sugar by homofermentative LAB contained in jbs progas® ferm sugar / starch → 100 % lactic acid
Fermentation of sugar by inefficient heterofermentative LAB (e. g. Lactobacillus buchneri) sugar / starch → lactic acid + acetic acid + alcohol + CO2

Homo- or heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria?

Heterofermentative Fermentation:

sugar ——► lactic acid + alcohol + acetic acid + CO2

Acetic acid producing bacteria - i. e. heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria - specifically produce acetic acid, alcohol and CO2. This is reflected in low contents of residual sugar.

In practice, these „acetic acid producers“ are used to improve the stability; They are, however, disadvantageous as they burn up a lot of energy. The stability is increased, but this is accompanied by higher DM losses compared to untreated.

Homofermentative Fermentation:

sugar ——► 100 % lactic acid

Lactic acid producing bacteria - i. e. homofermentative LAB - transform sugar into lactic acid at a ratio of almost 1:1. This rapid fermentation saves nutrients, thus preserving a large amount of carbohydrates, which would be lost if the silage were left untreated or treated with acetic acid producing bacteria.

Isn't acetic acid better for your digester?

Profitability (electric):
per kg of carbohydrates*
(sugar, starch)
per kg of lactic acid*
per kg of acetic acid*

= 1.4 kWh
* source: Fraunhofer Institut

1 kg of acetic acid produces the same amount of electric energy as 1kg of lactic acid or sugar. Therefore, contrary to common assumptions, having a large amount of acetic acid in the silage is not an advantage - quite the opposite. As the formation of acetic acid always entails the formation of CO2 (see above), a significantly larger amount of energy is lost in this process than during formation of lactic acid.

Subject: Fresh matter losses

In optically flawless silages of optimum silage management, fresh matter losses between 3 - 4 % are considered rather good. These losses can rarely be seen by observing the silo.

3 % FM losses ≙ approx. 10 % DM losses
–> 10 % DM losses ≙ approx. 30 kg sugar / starch

These losses occur during the natural fermentation process and are - contrary to common assumptions - no indication of management flaws.

jbs progas® ferm can cut these losses nearly in half, thus increasing the silage's energy value significantly above that of untreated silage.

Monetary considerations of the effects of jbs progas® ferm

The reduction of DM losses signifies an additional 18.4 kg of carbohydrates per tonne of silage.

According to the German research facility “Fraunhoferinstitut”, 1 kg of carbohydrates generates approx. 1.4 kW/hel

18.4 kg x 1.4 kW/h = 25.76 kW/h.

Assuming a remuneration of 0.16 € per kW/h - cautiously calculated - this comes up to a gain of approx. 4.12 €/tonne of silage at costs of significantly less than 1 €.

Coming up to a profit of 120 - 150 € per ha of maize!

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