The effects of incorporating sugar beet pulp with forage maize at ensiling on silage fermentation and effluent output using drum silos

Hameleers, A.L.ach, K.; Offer, N.; Roberts, D.

Grass and forage science the journal of the British Grassland Society 54(4): 322-335


ISSN/ISBN: 0142-5242
DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2494.1999.00184.x
Accession: 003585944

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The effects of incorporating sugar beet pulp with forage maize at ensiling on silage fermentation, effluent output and pollution potential of the effluent was investigated using 200-litre drum silos. A forage maize crop (Zea mais) was harvested on four different dates, generating four different stages of maturity [dry-matter (DM) content 154-235 g kg-1 DM], and molassed sugar beet pulp (MSBP) was added at five different rates (0, 2, 7, 13, 18 kg MSBP 100 kg-1 fresh maize crop). A total of fourteen treatments (each replicated three times) were evaluated. The chemical analysis of the maize silages and the mixtures produced showed that MSBP addition increased DM, ash, neutral cellulase gaminase digestibility (NCGD) and metabolizable energy (ME) contents of the mixture significantly (P < 0.01) for all harvesting dates except for harvest date 1. Silage fermentation in terms of final pH was unaffected by MSBP addition, although lactic acid concentration of the effluent tended to increase with increased MSBP addition. When no MSBP was included, large volumes of effluent were produced, ranging from 200 g kg-1 to 100 g kg-1. MSBP addition significantly (P < 0.01) decreased effluent production except for the driest material. A curvilinear equation was fitted to predict effluent production from DM of the forage maize and pressure applied to the sample (adjusted r2 = 0.95). In addition, a curvilinear equation was fitted to predict the MSBP addition rate required to prevent effluent production (adjusted r2 = 0.65). For harvest dates 1, 2 and 3, the biological oxygen demand for 5 days (BOD5) and the chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration of the effluent were significantly increased (P < 0.05) with increased levels of MSBP addition. However, the pollution potential per kg of material ensiled was significantly reduced (P < 0.05) with increased MSBP addition, since less effluent was produced. The experiment indicates that ensiling low DM silages with appropriate levels of MSBP produces nutritionally valuable silages with reduced pollution potential.