The first thought that came to mind was- if you're short of energy to get fermentation going, add some somehow? I know, super easy, no problem, right? ....
But seriously, it might help. I would maybe try hammer milled barley being liberally mixed into the pile with each load of chopped silage. Spraying or dribbling molasses on might work too, but can't see that being much easier. No real advice for how much to aim for, except that decent quality barley silage has 15-20% starch content, not sure how much credit to give the energy in the wheat that may or may not aid in fermenting....
I guess we should also ask, what kind of storage is this pile being made with? It will be a bit easier to mix stuff into a pile, could also maybe be done in a bagger but be a bit fussier ( set up an auger to feed in ground barley as the trucks unload?)
What would the sugar content of the alfalfa be to aid in fermentation at this point? I wouldn't be guessing very high with the the short days and the fact that it's been kinda ready for a while?
My gut would be to put the wheat in a pile by itself, if it doesn't work then at least the alfalfa is separate and has had a better chance to ensile instead of a great big pile of who knows what? Isolate the risk of the unknown to only one ingredient? I guess I am assuming you will be feeding it out as a tmr where you could blend it back together at feeding.....
Best of luck and hope something works out. Put some decent inoculant in as well to give yourself a fighting chance...
Oh yeah, what is the actual condition of the wheat? Dead ripe or some green in the leaves still? I'm guessing we are looking at wet straw as opposed to having any sugars left in the leaves, which will make this pretty challenging
I completely forgot about some of those details.
It will be going in a pile.
The straw is ripe. There was some second growth but only a couple % and that was 5-6 weeks ago.
The alfalfa is about 2' tall pre bloom and still lush green. The stems and leaves are still turgid despite being snowed on a few times. Under 5% is dessicated due to frost. I would guess it would have good sugar content.
That's a good idea on adding some energy with grain and keeping the wheat separate in case it becomes a pile of compost.
I know some years we baled tough straw. When it started to heat the cows would clean it up like candy. It smelled and looked like it was fermenting as opposed to just molding. That's kind of where I got the idea for this. I would have no problem doing this with the awnless but not the rough awned.
It's supposed to be sunny and around +10 for the next week. I'll need that regardless of what happens just to get around the field and feed yard.
I have been contemplating using inoculant for a couple years. We feed 90% of ours during cold weather so I feel aerobic stability isn't much of an issue. I do feel sometimes we have an issue with heating at the start of fermentation. What have you been using?
Thanks for all the ideas and thoughts.