Submitted to: Sixth Edition of Forages, Volume II The Science of Grassland Agriculture
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2006
Publication Date: 2/15/2007
Citation: Collins, M., and W. K. Coblentz. 2007. Post-harvest physiology of forages. In: Barnes, R.F., Nelson, C.J., Moore, K.J., Collins, M., editors. Forages, the Science of Grassland Agriculture. Volume II, 6th Edition. Ames, Iowa:Blackwell Publishing Professional. p. 583-600. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Numerous plant microbial and physiological processes occur during forage harvest and storage and are almost always deleterious. These processes are influenced by preharvest factors such as mowing time of day, plant species, and maturity stage, as well as by harvest and storage variables. Avoidance of rain damage and facilitation of rapid drying to minimize other losses are key considerations in hay production to avoid excessive plant enzymatic and microbial activity. Using silage to preserve forage greatly reduces negative effects of rain during field and storage phases compared with hay. Rapid elimination of oxygen and proper maintenance of anaerobic conditions in silage minimize aerobic respiration by plant enzymes and microbes.