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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #369611

Research Project: Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency and Mitigating Nutrient and Pathogen Losses from Dairy Production Systems

Location: Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research

Title: The effects of moisture at baling and wrapping delay on storage characteristics of annual ryegrass round bale silage

item CROOK, TYLER - University Of Arkansas
item STEWART, BRANDON - University Of Arkansas
item SIMS, MICHAEL - Oklahoma State University
item WEISS, CALEB - University Of Arkansas
item COFFEY, KENNETH - University Of Arkansas
item Coblentz, Wayne
item BECK, PAUL - Oklahoma State University

Submitted to: Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2020
Publication Date: 4/4/2020
Publication URL:
Citation: Crook, T., Stewart, B., Sims, M., Weiss, C., Coffey, K., Coblentz, W.K., Beck, P. 2020. The effects of moisture at baling and wrapping delay on storage characteristics of annual ryegrass round bale silage. Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management. 6(1):e20015.

Interpretive Summary: To ensure an optimal quality of baled silages, some current recommendations suggest that bales should be sealed within 2 hours of baling. In a typical production system, wrapping forage as baled silage often takes more time than a few hours to complete, and can be confounded further by weather delays, the availability of rented wrapping equipment, or delayed contracted wrapping services. Therefore, this trial was designed to further investigate the effect on DM recovery and nutritional quality when the wrapping of annual ryegrass silage bales made at two levels of moisture (74 or 30%) was delayed for 1, 2, or 3 days. Enzymatic and microbial activity during the field-wilting process for low-moisture silage bales resulted in increased concentrations of fiber components and crude protein, thereby reducing calculated pre-storage energy estimates, and compromising fermentation once the bales were wrapped. Delayed wrapping greatly impacted silage fermentation, especially when delays were greater than 24 hours. The production of stronger fermentation acids was reduced, causing a much less acidic final pH. Delayed wrapping also resulted in large increases in acetic and butyric acid, with the latter indicating increased clostridial activity. Therefore, baling ryegrass at greater than 60% dry matter and extending the delay between baling and wrapping beyond 24 hours should be avoided to ensure more favorable silage fermentations.

Technical Abstract: Moisture concentration and time between baling and wrapping round bale silage impacts silage quality and aerobic stability. The objective of this study was to observe the effects of wrapping delays of 0, 1, 2, or 3 days on the nutritional quality and storage characteristics of annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) silage baled at two levels of moisture (30 ± 9.5% [DRY] or 74 ± 0.8% [WET]). The DRY (n = 18) and WET (n = 20) bales were assigned as replicates and wrapped by pasture quadrant, then stored for 85 d. Crude protein, ADF, NDF, and ADICP of silage were greater (P < 0.01) for DRY than WET. Wrapping delays did not change bale weight or CP , but DM concentrations decreased linearly (P = 0.03) and ADF, NDF, and ADICP increased (P = 0.02) linearly with wrapping delay. Maximum temperature of DRY was greater (P = 0.01) than WET and increased linearly with wrapping delays (P < 0.01). Changes in the fermentation profile of WET bales with delays in wrapping indicated clostridial activity occurred, which will likely result in reductions in voluntary intake by livestock. Based on these results, ryegrass fermentation patterns and nutritional quality show a decline with each day delayed before wrapping with WET silage.