Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station ALP, rte de la Tioleyre 4, 1725 Posieux

Ensilability and silage quality of different grasses and legumes

The ensilability and the silage quality of seven grasses and three legumes from the first, second and fourth cut was investigated. The forage was per-wilted to 30 to 35 % DM, short chopped and ensiled in laboratory silos. Ash, protein, fibre and sugar content as well as buffering capacity were different between the plant species. As a result the fermentability coefficients varied between 36 and 72. The forage of the first cut had the highest and the forage of the forth cut the lowest values. Furthermore, the fermentability coefficients of the legumes were lower in comparison to the grasses. But also within the grasses there were differences. The ray-grasses, which had the highest sugar contents, had on average higher values (56) than cocksfoot, which had only an average value of 39. Concerning the legumes luzerne had with 38 lower values than white and red clover (47 and 45). All silages of the first cut had a good to a very good fermentation quality. The silages of the fourth and mainly of the second cut were of an inferior quality. The relation between the fermentability coefficients and the fermentation quality (DLG-points) was not so high. A higher relation was found between the sugar content as well as between the fibre content and the fermentation quality. Silages of good quality can also be produced with white and red clover. The lowest fermentation quality showed the silages with luzerne and cocksfoot.

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