Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #380013

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

Location: Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research

Title: Fermentation and aerobic stability of rain-damaged alfalfa/grass baled silages treated with a propionic-acid-based preservative

item Coblentz, Wayne
item AKINS, MATTHEW - University Of Wisconsin

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2020
Publication Date: 1/11/2021
Citation: Coblentz, W.K., Akins, M.S. 2021. Fermentation and aerobic stability of rain-damaged alfalfa/grass baled silages treated with a propionic-acid-based preservative. Meeting Abstract. American Forage and Grassland Annual Meeting, January 3-12, Savannah, GA.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Most new balers are equipped with application systems for preservatives, or the option exists for factory installation at the time of purchase. Within this context, propionic-acid-based products are used commonly for storage of dry hay, but they are not often considered when ensiling baled forages. This study evaluated 4 preservative treatments applied to alfalfa/grass forages (49% alfalfa, 46% grass, 5% broadleaf weeds) that had received 5 mm of unexpected rainfall during wilting. A propionic-acid-based preservative (CropSaverTM, New Holland Agriculture, Racine, WI) was applied at rates of 0.01 (control), 0.13, 0.44, or 0.80% of wet bale weight to 24 (4 × 4-ft) round bales made at either 43.6 or 51.6% moisture. Before fermentation, initial forage pH declined linearly (P < 0.001) from 6.14 to 5.77 with product-application rate. Conversely, initial forage buffering capacity tended to increase linearly (P = 0.057) from 360 to 405 mEq/kg DM. After a 242-day storage period, there were linear increases in concentrations of total alcohols (P = 0.002), and particularly 2,3-butanediol (P < 0.001), as application rate increased. After storage, plastic wrap was removed from all bales, and they were exposed to air for 11 days. Maximum surface temperatures (6-inch depth) were 132, 94, 73, and 64oF for the 0.01, 0.13, 0.44, and 0.80% rates, respectively, which represented a linear (P = 0.001) effect. A similar linear (P = 0.002) effect was observed for exposed surface pH (range = 6.52 to 5.41). Use of a propionic-acid-based preservative improved aerobic stability of round-bale silages.