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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
2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Evaluate the effects of location, maturity and silage additive treatment on alfalfa silage quality and in vitro digestibility.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
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.


3.Progress Report:

This agreement is to partially fulfill subobjective 2B of the parent project: Develop and evaluate harvest and storage techniques that improve the feed value of more mature alfalfa. Alfalfa was harvested and ensiled from first and third cuttings in 2012 at both Artesia, NM and Stratford, WI according to plans. The first cutting silages have been opened for chemical analysis. Analysis of the 2011 silages from New Mexico was completed in 2012, but the results are not yet summarized.


Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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