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The preservation of a nandi setaria silage and its feeding value for dairy cows


, : The preservation of a nandi setaria silage and its feeding value for dairy cows. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture and Animal Husbandry 18(90): 16-24

The process of vacuum ensilage of Setaria sphacelata (cv. Nandi) (33% DM [dry matter]; 7% soluble carbohydrates; 1.36% N) was studied, and the resultant silage was evaluated chemically in milk production trials with dairy cows and in digestion trials with dry cows. The silage was well preserved in a chemical sense (pH 4.5; lactic acid 1.7%, volatile acids 1.2% DM; volatile bases 9.8% total N) but, because of the structural rigidity of the harvested grass, air could not be completely excluded even from the polythene-covered vacuum stack. The temperature reached 43.degree. C in the 1st wk of storage, and considerable surface wastage occurred. The silage (DM digestibility 42%, voluntary DM intake 81 g/kg0.75) was of poorer quality than the grass harvested (DM digestibility 54%, voluntary DM intake 84 g/kg0.75) and, even by feeding concentrates, only a low level of milk production could be sustained in (mainly Jersey) cows in the 5th-9th mo. of lactation. In silage-fed cows given a protein supplement (cottonseed meal) milk production was lower (3.8 kg day-1) but fat content higher (5.4%) than in those given an energy supplement (sorghum grain) or energy plus protein (4.7 kg day-1 and 4.9% fat). When fed lucerne hay and given the same energy plus protein supplement, cows gave significantly more milk (5.7 kg day-1 and 4.6% fat). The poor nutritive value of the silage is attributed to the nature and composition of the material ensiled rather than to any defect in the ensilage process itself, and may be a feature of most silage made from tropical grasses.

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