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Nitrogen oxide buildup in silos can be deadly

August 14, 2007

Use extreme caution around silos because nitrogen oxide gases that are generated during the first few days of ensiling are lethal to animals and humans.

These gases tend to accumulate in low areas and are colorless to reddish-brown. Run the blower for 15 to 20 minutes before entering an upright silo and use caution around vents in silo bags.

Use a respirator before entering a silo. In severe cases, the gases will stain forages and other items. In some instances, patches of yellowish silage may be observed. If these spots of silage have a very low pH (1-3), it is possible that nitric acid was formed.

- Washington County Extension Office

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