Submitted to: International Silage Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/11/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Potato vines are currently killed with herbicides prior to potato harvest. However, the vines could be used as cattle feed if they could be properly stored. Furthermore, the harvesting of the vines would not only reduce herbicide use but also minimize the carryover of potato diseases and vectors to the next potato crop. The purpose of this study was to find the best methods to preserve the potato vines by ensiling. Two experiments wer performed. In the first, vines of 4 potato varieties were harvested with a flail forage harvester set to give 3 levels of soil contamination. The chopped vines were ensiled in laboratory silos alone or in combination with alfalfa hay or barley grain at a ratio of 3 vines:1 amendment, w/w. The silages were analyzed after 90 d ensiling. In the second experiment, a single variety was hand harvested. Half the vines were chopped fresh and ensiled alone or at 4 ratios with whole-plant corn. The other half were wilted for 24 h and ensiled alone, with an inoculant or at 4 ratios with whole-plant corn. Three silos per treatment were analyzed after 1, 2, 6, 14 and 90 d ensiling. The potato vines alone did not ensile well. The pH during ensiling did not drop low enough to prevent clostridial fermentation in these low dry matter (11-13%) silages. Wilting vines for 24 h under good drying conditions only raised the dry matter to 16%. The wilted vine silages with or without an inoculant also became clostridial. All three amendments (alfalfa hay, barley grain and whole-plant corn) produced good silages. Of the three amendments, barley grain produced the lowest pH, but these silages were the least aerobically stable of the amended silages. The best option would be to ensile the vines with a crop which is harvested at the same time, such as early maturing corn, thus minimizing labor.