Climate, nitrogen and grass. 4. The influence of age on chemical composition and in vitro digestibility of maize (Zea mays L.) and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.)
Deinum, B.; Dirven, J.G.P.
Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 19(4): 264-272
ISSN/ISBN: 0028-2928 Accession: 000042485
In a field experiment with maize it was found that in vitro digestibility of leaves decreased somewhat during undisturbed growth, whereas digestibility of stems decreased appreciably. This decrease in leaf digestibility was caused by a lower digestibility of later-developed leaves and by a slight decrease in digestibility during ageing of each individual leaf. In a pot experiment with tall fescue grown at 15/10, 20/15 and 25/20 deg C, it was found that a higher temperature resulted in higher concentrations of cell-wall constituents and lower digestibility, whereas during ageing the percentage of cell-wall constituents remained constant or even decreased, digestibility decreasing slightly. Results suggested that in a constant climate the effect of age on digestibility would be small, and that the great effect of age on forage quality in spring is mainly due to rising temperature and stem formation.