The Effects of Different Moisture Content and Ensiling Time on Silo Degradation of Structural Carbohydrate of Orchardgrass

  • Yahaya, M.S. (Department of Animal Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine) ;
  • Kawai, M. (Department of Animal Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine) ;
  • Takahashi, J. (Department of Animal Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine) ;
  • Matsuoka, S. (Department of Animal Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine)
  • Received : 2001.06.29
  • Accepted : 2001.10.08
  • Published : 2002.02.01


This study determined the influence of moisture, ensiling time and their interactions on the losses of hemicellulose and cellulose during ensiling of orchardgrass. Orchardgrass containing 80 (HM), 70 (MM) and 55% (LM) moisture was ensiled in 3 laboratory silos of 500 ml capacity for 3, 7, 21 and 91 days. The dry matter (DM), water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC), hemicellulose and cellulose contents of the ensiled orchardgrass was lowered than that of the untreated grass regardless of moisture content. Ensiling orchardgrass for 91 days (d) decreased (p<0.01) hemicellulose contents from 19 to 15%, 20 to 15% and 18 to 12% and cellulose from 31 to 29%, 29 to 26% and 27 to 26% for LM, MM and HM silage, respectively. Results from fermentation of LM and MM silages were within acceptable guidelines except for butyric acid and ammonia after 3 weeks of ensiling of MM which appeared to be lower than ideal. The results of the fermentation of HM silages were poor showing higher concentration of acetic, propionic and butyric acids and traces of isovaleric, valeric and caproic acids with ammonia at all stage of time. While the DM losses from LM and MM silages over the ensiling period were acceptable, that for HM silage increased to 13% after 91 d ensiling, confirming a poor fermentation process occurred. The greatest WSC losses occurred within 7 d of ensiling and the lowest losses occurred after 3 weeks of ensiling. Except in HM silage, the hemicellulose and cellulose losses were highest (p<0.01) in the first 3 weeks of ensiling. Hemicellulose losses were between 19 and 22% and 4.2 and 5.9% up to 3 weeks and after 3 weeks of ensiling LM and MM silages, respectively. Cellulose losses were small. In contrast, hemicellulose losses after 3 weeks of ensiling of HM silage was about 50% higher than over the first 3 weeks possibly due to clostridial type fermentation. The results showed that increasing ensiling time of high moisture orchardgrass would result in the excessive losses of DM, WSC, hemicellulose and cellulose in the silage.


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