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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Round Bale Silage Storage Losses of Ryegrass and Legume-Grass Forages

Authors
item Huhnke, R - OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Muck, Richard
item Payton, M - OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: ASAE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 17, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The development of machinery to wrap large round bales with a stretch film of plastic has made it possible to make individual bales of forage silage. Because this practice is relatively new, it is not known what moisture contents are best for producing good quality silage. We ensiled grass and grass-legume forages in wrapped round bales over a range of moisture contents on each of four farms in Oklahoma. After six months storage, the bales were sampled for forage quality. Higher moisture contents produced greater levels of fermentation and lower pHs. In general, levels of fermentation products were lower than typically found silages made in other silo types. However, forage characteristics important in formulating cattle rations were unaffected by moisture level. Estimated dry matter losses ranged from 6 to 9%, similar to losses from tower silos. Also, the percentage of samples with evidence of spoilage was relatively constant (approximately 15%) across a wide range of moisture contents (25 to 65% moisture, wet basis). Bales with moisture contents above 65% had greater levels of spoilage. These results indicate that with good management wrapped round bales can produce good silage over a wide range of moisture contents.

Technical Abstract: Little is known regarding the best conditions for ensiling large round bales. Round bales of ryegrass and legume-grass silages were wrapped with stretch film. Initial bale moisture contents ranged from 25 to over 65% (wet basis). After six months in storage, apparent dry matter losses were not affected by initial moisture content. Significant changes were measured din crude protein, acid detergent fiber and total digestible nutrients for all forages. However, changes in quality were not significantly affected by initial moisture content. Final moisture content of core samples from 0-10 cm and 10-23 cm depths ranged from 14.0% to 71.7%. Moisture content had a significant effect on fermentation. Ryegrass silage samples above 50% moisture content averaged 2.5% of DM lactic acid and 0.5% of DM acetic acid while legume-grass silages averaged 1.0% of DM lactic acid and less than 0.4% of DM acetic acid. Of the 312 samples analyzed, 17.9% had pH values above 6.5, a proportion that was relatively constant for samples having moisture contents less than 65%. Consequently, with good management, it appears that good quality forage silages can be made with stretch-wrapped round bales except at high moisture contents (>65%).

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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