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Silage production from sweet potato vines and tubers

Fodder Enrichment for Thriving Livestock

Silage production from sweet potato vines and tubers is a valuable agricultural innovation that efficiently converts underutilized resources into high-quality animal fodder. This technology not only prevents resource wastage under unfavorable conditions but also bridges gaps in animal feed availability for farmers. The fermentation process enhances digestibility, preserving essential nutrients and making it an excellent complement to traditional feeds. By including sweet potato silage in animal rations, livestock can grow rapidly due to its rich nutrient content, ensuring they remain satiated and maintain good health. This approach is particularly beneficial for both small-scale and commercial farmers, offering sustainable and cost-effective solutions to their livestock feeding needs.


This technology is TAAT1 validated.


Scaling readiness: idea maturity 7/9; level of use 8/9


  • Resource Wastage: Leftover vines and small or twisted sweet potato tubers often perish under moist and hot conditions.
  • Gaps in Fodder Availability: There can be persistent or intermittent gaps in fodder availability for farmers.
  • Poor Digestibility and Nutritional Value: Fresh vines contain trypsin enzymes that reduce the digestibility and nutritional value for ruminants.
  • Inadequate Nutrient Content: Normal rations of ruminants may not have a large nutrient content, causing them to feel hungry and start spending body reserves.
  • Labor-Intensive Resource Collection: Gathering adequate quantities of leftover vines and small or twisted sweet potato tubers during crop harvesting can be labor-intensive and may require time and effort.


  • High-Quality Fodder: The technology converts leftover sweet potato parts into high-quality fodder suitable for various classes of ruminants and pigs, enhancing their nutrition and overall health. The silage is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins, and is highly digestible by the animals.
  • Bridging Fodder Gaps: The technology ensures consistent fodder availability, helping to bridge persistent or intermittent gaps in fodder availability for farmers. It provides a solution to dry-season feed shortages, seasonal price fluctuations, and inconsistent quality of commercial feeds.
  • Enhanced Digestibility and Nutrition: The fermentation process that takes place during silage production enhances the digestibility of the feedstocks and conserves all proteins and carbohydrates. This process also causes the breakdown of trypsin enzymes found in fresh vines that reduce their digestibility and nutritional value.
  • Nutrient-Rich Feed: Sweet potato silage has a large nutrient content, which helps ruminants grow faster and feel satiated, preventing them from spending their body reserves. It can be mixed with other feeds and used in compounded rations to improve feed quality.
  • Efficient Resource Utilization: The technology offers a sustainable and cost-effective solution to livestock feeding needs, reducing the labor required for resource collection. It enables optimal moisture contents and high storage densities for silage, suitable for both subsistence and commercial farmers. The improved forms of silage can be ready-to-eat for livestock in a minimum of three weeks and can be stored for up to a year, providing farmers and breeders various opportunities to better manage fodder supply.

Key points to design your business plan


  • Training
    Participate in training programs on sweet potato silage production. This could be through agricultural extension services, online courses, or local farming communities.
  • Gather Your Materials
    You will need:
    - Sweet potato vines and tubers
    - A chipper or similar tool for chopping the vines and tubers
    - Plastic sheets or tubes for storing the silage
    - Sealing materials such as tape or weights
    - Salt or sun-dried poultry manure
  • Prepare the Feedstock
    Harvest the sweet potato vines and tubers. Use the chipper to chop them into small pieces. Sun-dry the chopped material to reduce moisture content.
  • Make the Silage
    Layer the chopped vines and tubers into your chosen storage container (bag, drum, or pit). The ratio should be 70% vines to 30% tubers. Add 0.5% salt or sun-dried poultry manure. Make sure each layer is well compacted to remove air pockets.
  • Seal and Store
    Once the container is full, seal it tightly to prevent air from entering. The silage should ferment in this anaerobic condition for about 30 days before it's ready to be fed to livestock.
  • Monitor and Use
    Check the silage regularly for any signs of spoilage. Once ready, it can be used to feed livestock, especially during periods of fodder scarcity.

Positive or neutral impact

Adults 18 and over
Positive high
The poor
Positive medium
Under 18
Positive low
Positive low

Positive or neutral impact

Climate adaptability
It adapts somewhat well
Adaptability for farmers
It helps somewhat
It helps them grow and thrive
Carbon footprint
It reduces emissions a little
It makes a big difference
Soil quality
It doesn't harm the soil's health and fertility
Water usage
It uses the same amount of water

Countries with a green colour
Tested & adopted
Countries with a bright green colour
Countries with a yellow colour
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burundi Burkina Faso Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Côte d’Ivoire Eritrea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Cameroon Kenya Libya Liberia Madagascar Mali Malawi Morocco Mauritania Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Republic of the Congo Rwanda Zambia Senegal Sierra Leone Zimbabwe Somalia South Sudan Sudan South Africa Eswatini Tanzania Togo Tunisia Chad Uganda Western Sahara Central African Republic Lesotho
Countries where the technology has been tested and adopted
Country Tested Adopted
Kenya Tested Adopted
Mozambique Tested Adopted
Uganda Tested Adopted

This technology can be used in the colored agro-ecological zones. Any zones shown in white are not suitable for this technology.

Agro-ecological zones where this technology can be used
AEZ Subtropic - warm Subtropic - cool Tropic - warm Tropic - cool

Source: HarvestChoice/IFPRI 2009

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are applicable to this technology.

Sustainable Development Goal 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger
Sustainable Development Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Goal 8: decent work and economic growth

Here are the procedures for silage production from sweet potato vines and tubers:

1. Cutting and Chipping: Begin by cutting the vines and chipping the tubers into suitable sizes. While this can be done by hand, using an electric chipper is more efficient for processing larger quantities of feedstock.

2. Choice of Silo: Select the type of silo you want to use based on your specific needs. Options include 'bag silos,' which involve compressing silage into sealed tubes, 'stack silos' where silage is piled into mounds, and 'trench silos' that are pits of up to 2 meters deep.

3. Compaction: Compact the silage using a metal drum fitted with tubes for air and water drainage. People and weights can be used to push down the feedstock. Alternatively, you can opt for medium to large-sized mechanized press systems, which are suitable for larger-scale operations and can be powered by grid electricity or generators.

4. Storage Adaptation: Ensure that the size and means of storage are adapted to your specific context, whether you are a subsistence or commercial farmer. This step is crucial for preserving the quality of the silage.

5. Feeding Considerations: Once the silage has been opened, it should be fed to livestock within a short period to prevent spoilage. Proper adaptation of storage methods helps manage this effectively.

Last updated on 22 May 2024