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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DIGESTIBILITY OF ALFALFA SILAGE AS AFFECTED BY LOCATION, MATURITY AND TREATMENT Project Number: 3655-21000-047-23
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 03, 2010
End Date: Sep 30, 2012

Objective:
Evaluate the effects of location, maturity and silage additive treatment on alfalfa silage quality and in vitro digestibility.

Approach:
Plots of two cultivars of alfalfa will be established in both Wisconsin and New Mexico. One cultivar will have a fall dormancy rating typical of Wisconsin and the other a rating typical of New Mexico. Alfalfa will be harvested at two maturities (late bud and early to mid flower) in two cuttings (first in both locations and one regrowth cutting at approximately the same calendar date). There will be four ensiling treatments: untreated, a lactic acid bacterial inoculant known to improve fiber digestibility, cell-wall degrading enzymes, and formic acid. The alfalfa will be ensiled in 0.5 L glass jar silos. Triplicate silos of each condition will be stored at room temperature for 30 d and then frozen at -20 C until analyzed. Silages and initial alfalfa samples will be analyzed for neutral detergent fiber, crude protein, dry matter content and water soluble carbohydrates. Silages will be analyzed for pH, fermentation products and in vitro fiber digestibility. The latter analyses will all be performed in Madison, where facilities and equipment are available.

Last Modified: 4/22/2014
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