The outgrowth of Clostridium spore-forming bacteria causes late blowing in cheeses. Recently, the role of air diffusion during storage and feed-out and the role of aerobic deterioration has been shown to indirectly favor butyric acid bacteria (BAB) growth and to determine the presence of high concentrations of BAB spores in farm tank milk. A new oxygen barrier (OB) film was tested and compared with conventional polyethylene (ST). The objective was to verify whether the OB film could prevent BAB spore formation in whole-crop corn silage during storage on 2 commercial farms with different potential silage spoilage risks. Two bunkers (farms 1 and 2) were divided into 2 parts along the length so that half the feed-out face would be covered with ST film and the other half with OB film. Plastic net bags with freshly chopped corn were buried in the upper layer and in the central part (CORE) of the bunkers. The silos were opened in summer and fed out at different removal rates (19 vs. 33 cm/d). Herbage at ensiling, silage at unloading, and silage after air exposure (6 and 15 d) were analyzed for pH, nitrate, BAB spores, yeasts, and molds. The BAB spores in herbages at ensiling were 2.84 log(10) most probable number (MPN)/g, with no differences between treatments or farms. Nitrate was below the detection limit on farm 1 and exceeded 2,300 mg/kg of fresh matter on farm 2. At unloading, the BAB spores in the ST silage on farm 1 were greater than 5 log(10) MPN/g, whereas in the CORE and the OB silages, they were approximately 2 log(10) MPN/g. The ST silage had the greatest pH (5.89), the greatest mold count (5.07 log(10) cfu/g), and the greatest difference between silage temperature and ambient temperature (dT(section-ambient)). On farm 2, the ST silage had the greatest concentration of BAB spores (2.19 log(10) MPN/g), the greatest pH (4.05), and the least nitrate concentration compared with the CORE and the OB silages. Pooled data on BAB spores collected from aerobically deteriorated samples showed a positive relationship with pH, mold count, and dT(section-ambient) and a negative relationship with nitrate concentration. A high concentration of BAB spores (>5 log MPN/g) was associated with visible spoilage, high pH values (>5.00), high mold counts (>5 log cfu/g), high dT(section-ambient), and nitrate below 1,000 mg/kg of fresh matter. We concluded that the use of a film with reduced oxygen permeability prevented the outgrowth of BAB spores during conservation and feed-out, and it could improve the microbiological quality of corn silage by eliminating the fractions of silage with high BAB spore concentrations.
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