Banana stack silage

I watched the video on the making of banana stack silage. I am wondering if a farmer cuts down his banana stack, is he going to lose banana production? Or, do they have an abundance of stacks?

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Hi David!

Great question! After a banana stem (truly a pseudostem) fruits, it will not fruit again so farmers cut down the stem and typically chop it up into pieces and put it back onto the banana mat or clump in order to recycle nutrients. Instead of chopping it up, farmers may put it into compost or ferment it into banana stalk/stem silage. The nutritional value of a banana stalk/stem for livestock feed is lower for large ones that have already fruited compared to smaller diameter ones we like to call “teenagers.”

When managing banana mats, it can be good to cull out any extra “teenagers” for fermenting into feed. A mat should be ~3 feet apart from each other an only contain 3 pseudostems: a mother that is flowering, fruiting or about to fruit, a teenager that is 1/5-2/3 the height of the mother, and a pup that is just emerging. If there are more than these 3, nutrients and water start to get diverted into too many stems and overall production of the mat/clump will decrease. So, when managing mats - it can be a good idea to remove stems that can then be used for making fermented feed.

Lastly, yes - some farmers intentionally grow bananas for feed. There are varieties of banana that are especially vigorous and put out many pups all at the same time.


Thanks, Stacy! I just learned a lot from that.

Don’t forget to share those extra young stems with others or expand your banana plantation, maybe even planting them further apart with your crops between. Certain crops would like a little shade but not too much. And that way you can plant vining crops like squash/pumpkins or melons (on the sunny side) in the banana hole and let them trail outwards. Sweet potatoes will take a little shade and they vine also.