IMPROVING NUTRIENT DIGESTIBILITY TO ENHANCE FORAGE UTILIZATION IN LACTATING DAIRY COW FEEDING SYSTEMS
Location: Dairy Forage and Aquaculture Research
Title: Effects of Silo Type on Silage Quality and Losses
Submitted to: International Silage Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 13, 2009
Publication Date: July 27, 2009
Citation: Muck, R.E., Broderick, G.A., Brink, G.E. 2009. Effects of Silo Type on Silage Quality and Losses. In: Broderick, G.A., Adesogan, A.T., Bocher, L.W., Bolsen, K.K., Contreras-Govea, F.E., Harrison, J.H., Muck, R.E., editors. XVth International Silage Conference Proceedings, July 27-29, 2009, Madison, Wisconsin. p. 275-276.
The objective was to determine how storage structure affects alfalfa silage dry matter losses and quality. A study was conducted for two consecutive years. Each year, second cutting alfalfa was ensiled in one bunker silo (4.9 x 21 x 3.5 m), one pressed bag silo (2.4 x 52 m) and one oxygen-limiting silo (4.3 x 15 m). All three silos were filled from the same fields, with approximately one-half of each field allocated to the bunker silo and one quarter to each of the bag and oxygen-limiting silos. We attempted to fill silos at recommended dry matter (DM) contents: 35-40% DM for the bunker and bag, 45-50% DM for the oxygen-limiting silo. All three silos were opened simultaneously in late spring and emptied through the summer. Losses were determined by weighing and sampling all alfalfa ensiled and silage removed from the silos. Average reduction in the amount of silage DM removed compared to the alfalfa DM ensiled was 4.3, 9.8 and 12.2% for the oxygen-limited, bag and bunker silos, respectively. Because of spoilage, 0.1, 1.5 and 4.6% of ensiled DM could not be fed, leading to total DM losses of 4.3, 11.3 and 16.9% for the oxygen-limited, bag and bunker silos, respectively. Lactate to acetate ratio was highest in the oxygen-limiting silage and lowest in the bunker both years. Crude protein content was similar across silo type whereas neutral detergent fiber, lignin and ash were elevated in the bunker silages relative to those from the oxygen-limited and bag silos.