Swiss Federal Research Station for Animal Production, Posieux

DOC-trial: farming system and silage quality

Between 1996 and 1998 we investigated the influence of a bio-dynamic, a bio-organic and a conventional farming system on grass silage quality. For all treatments the same grass-clover-mixture was sown at the same place, the plots were fertilized differently depending on the farming system. Two different fertilizer levels per system were applied. The plots were cut five times a year at the same date. For the ensiling trials the forage was pre-wilted to an average DM-content of 27 % and ensiled in laboratory silos. During the three years the botanical composition of the ley has changed. In the first year perennial ryegrass and white clover were the main plants and in the third year, it was cocksfoot which dominated. Their proportion was influenced by the amount of N-fertilizer. The different fertilizer levels of the farming systems influenced the botanical composition and the nutrient contents of the grass as well as the fermentation quality. In the bio-organic and in the conventional system the variants with the higher fertilizer level showed a worse fermentation quality than the lower level. On the other hand the fertilizer level did not influence the silage quality in the bio-dynamic system. The differences concerning the fermentation quality between the three years and the different growths were higher than the differences between the different farming systems.

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