Agroscope, Institute for Livestock Sciences ILS, 1725 Posieux, Switzerland

Silage qualities in the mountain area: a field study

Silage preparation is an important feed-conservation method in the mountain area of Switzerland. To determine the ensilability of various typical plant populations in the mountain area, four plant populations were investigated on a laboratory scale, and grass silages from 31 commercial farms from the Ybrig-Einsiedeln mountain region were collected and analysed. According to the fermentability coefficients from the green-forage samples, the four plant populations investigated proved to have good ensiling properties. There were, however, differences in silage quality, with a high proportion of herbs not proving disadvantageous for the production of a high-quality silage. The quality of the silages from the commercial farms varied dramatically. In addition to very good silages, there were also silages of poor and very poor quality. This was primarily attributable to the increased butyric acid content, which was partly the result of the earthy impurities. On average, the silages reached an NEL content of 5.5 MJ per kg dry matter (DM). The main reason for these low values were high fibre contents attributable to a late utilisation stage.

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