Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Ensilability of some herbs of intensively used meadows

The ensilability and the silage quality of some common herbs of permanent meadows were investigated. The following herbs were tested: Taraxacum officinale, Anthriscus sylvestris, Heracleum sphondylium, Ranunculus acer and Ranunculus repens. Plant material of the first and third cut was ensiled in laboratory silos. For comparison, the two grasses Lolium perenne and Dactylis glomerata as well as white clover (Trifolium repens) were also ensiled. Each plant specie was ensiled separately and as well as in mixtures with the two grasses and the clover. The average dry matter content was 26 % for the forage of the first and 29 % for the third cut. Almost all herbs had a higher sugar, a higher crude protein and a lower crude fibre content than the two grasses. Some differences occured between the first and third cut. In the third cut the sugar content was lower for all plant species. The quality of the silages of the two grasses for the first and also the third cut was bad. High butyric acid contents were determined. The silages of the different herbs and the white clover showed an excellent quality in the first cut. In the third cut, the quality of these silages was not quite so good. The different mixtures of the first cut showed an excellent quality. A deterioration of the quality of the different mixed silages was observed in the third cut. All in all this trial showed that the silages with the tested herbs had an even better fermentation quality than silages with grasses.

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