Swiss Federal Research Station for Animal Production, Posieux

Influence of different maize varieties on aerobic stability

Maize is a forage crop which is easy to ensile. However, aerobic instability, characterised by heating and spoilage processes, remains a major problem on many farms. A question is, whether the variety has an influence on the aerobic stability. Therefore, we cultivated four maize varieties with different ripening character (dry down and stay green) at three different places in 2000 and 2001. Between August and October, maize plants were harvested and ensiled in laboratory silos. The investigations showed that particularly the maize silages from the three places which were harvested early had a reduced aerobic stability. The high sugar content and not the high DM-content, as is expected in general, had a highly negative effect on aerobic stability. Concerning the aerobic stability, some differences were found between the four varieties. In 2000, the variety Goldmeru from all three places was generally more stable in comparison to the other varieties. Moreover, the stay green variety Monopol was not less susceptible to aerobic instability than the other varieties. The determination of yeasts at the ensiling date showed that the later the maize was harvested the higher was its yeast content. But during feedout lower yeast contents were partially found in comparison to those at the ensiling date. With a delayed feedout, the number of yeasts and moulds increased strongly and the silages heated up very rapidly.

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