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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Preparing High Quality Alfalfa Silage

Author
item Muck, Richard

Submitted to: Conservacion De Forrajes De Alta Calidad Conservation Of High Quality Fora
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 19, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Alfalfa can be a difficult crop to ensile because it has a low sugar content and a high buffering capacity. These factors make alfalfa potentially susceptible to a clostridial fermentation, producing butyric acid and amines that will make the silage unpalatable. These problems can be overcome by wilting the crop to at least 30% DM (40% DM in wrapped bale silage) and practicing good ensiling techniques during harvesting and storage that will minimize the loss of sugar. This particularly includes rapid filling, thorough sealing of the silo and maintenance of the seal. The breakdown of protein to soluble nonprotein nitrogen is another problem in alfalfa silage. This can be slightly reduced by silage inoculants, but currently there are no cost effective means for making major improvements in protein preservation.

Last Modified: 4/24/2014
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