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Effects of Ensiling Alfalfa with Whole-crop Maize on the Chemical Composition and Nutritive Value of Silage Mixtures

  • Ozturk, Durmus (Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science) ;
  • Kizilsimsek, Mustafa (Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Crop Science) ;
  • Kamalak, Adem (Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science) ;
  • Canbolat, Onder (Bursa Uludag University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science) ;
  • Ozkan, Cagri Ozgur (Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science)
  • Received : 2005.05.03
  • Accepted : 2005.09.30
  • Published : 2006.04.01

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the chemical composition, in vitro DM degradability, ME and OMD of alfalfa-maize silage mixtures in comparison to pure maize and alfalfa silages, and to test the existence of associative effects of ensiling alfalfa forage with whole-crop maize using the in vitro gas production technique. Ensiling alfalfa with whole-crop maize had a significant (p<0.001) effect on chemical composition, pH, in vitro DM degradability, OMD and estimated ME values of mixtures. DM content of the resultant silages significantly increased with increasing proportion of whole-crop maize in the mixtures, whereas the pH value, crude protein (CP), acid detergent fibre (ADF) and ash contents of mixtures decreased due to the dilution effect of whole-crop maize which was low in CP, ADF and ash. The pH values of all alfalfa-maize silage mixtures were at the desired level for quality silage. Gas production of alfalfa-maize silage mixtures at all incubation times except 12 h increased with increasing proportion of whole-crop maize. When alfalfa was mixed with whole-crop maize in the ratio 40:60, ME and OMD values were significantly (p<0.001) higher than other silages. Maximum gas production ($A_{gas}$) ranged from 65.7 to 78.1 with alfalfa silage showing the lowest maximum gas production. The results obtained in this study clearly showed that maximum gas production increased with increased percentage of whole-crop maize in the silage mixtures (r = 0.940, p<0.001). It was concluded that ensiling alfalfa with whole-crop maize improved the pH, OMD and ME values. However, trials with animals are required to see how these differences in silage mixtures affect animal performance.

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