Hydrolysis and acidification of grass silage (GS) was examined in leaching bed reactors (LBRs) under organic loading rates (OLRs) of 0.5, 0.8 and 1.0 kg volatile solids (VS)/m(3)/clay. The LBRs were run in duplicate over five consecutive batch tests (Batch tests 1-5) to examine the effects of pH, leachate dilution and addition of inoculum on the process of hydrolysis and acidification. The highest GS hydrolysis yields of 52-58%, acidification yields of 57-60% and VS removals of 62-66% were obtained in Batch test 4. Increasing OLRs affected the hydrolysis yield negatively. In Batch test 4, the reduction of lignocellulosic materials was up to 74.4% of hemicellulose, 30.1% of cellulose and 9.3% of lignin within 32 days. Cellulase activity can be used as an indicator for the hydrolysis process. Methane production from the LBRs only accounted for 10.0-13.8% of the biological methane potential of GS. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.