Chemical composition, ensiling characteristics, and apparent digestibility of summer annual forages in a saubtropical double-cropping system with annual ryegrass

J. D. Ward, D. D. Redfearn, M. E. McCormick, G. J. Cuomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

A 2-yr study was conducted to determine the chemical composition and digestibility of silages made from forage sorghum, pearl millet, and tropical corn managed to optimize forage quality. Silages were ensiled in upright concrete silos lined with plastic and fed to heifers to determine in vivo apparent digestibility. Samples were collected before and after ensiling to determine ensiling characteristics and forage quality. After ensiling, tropical corn had the greatest dry matter (DM), the lowest crude protein, and the greatest water-soluble concentrations. Tropical corn silage had a pH of 3.96. The pH of forage sorghum silage was 4.09, and pearl millet had a pH of 4.50. Pearl millet had the lowest concentration of preensiled water-soluble carbohydrate, which likely caused the high pH in the silage. There were no differences among the forages in DM loss during ensiling in yr 2. Heifers fed pearl millet silage consumed more DM, but digestible DM intake was not different among the three groups of heifers. The results of this experiment indicate that pearl millet would be less desirable as a crop intended solely for silage production. Both forage sorghum and tropical corn could be grown specifically for ensiling based on DM digestibility. The decision on which crop to use should be based on factors such as production costs, forage yields, and local growing conditions rather than silage quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume84
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2001

Keywords

  • Forage sorghum
  • Pearl millet
  • Silage quality
  • Tropical corn

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