Dry Matter Recovery and Aerobic Stability of Maize Whole-Crop, Cob and Stover Silages—Harvest Date and Cultivar Effects

Conference paper

Abstract

Forage maize (Zea mays L.) has the potential to produce high yields of excellent quality feed for ruminants. However, for regions with a cool overcast climate, improvements in maize silage production systems are required to reduce variation in yield and quality. Ensiling can reduce yield through dry matter (DM) losses and may alter feed quality. This study investigated the effects of harvest date on the DM recovery and aerobic stability of whole-crop, cob and stover silages produced from contrasting cultivars of maize. Six cultivars of forage maize, four of which were categorised as conventional (Tassilo, FAO 190; Beethoven, FAO 200; Andante FAO 200 and Nescio, FAO 230) and two categorised as high biomass (Atletico, FAO 280 and KXA 7211, FAO 260) were sown in 72 m2 plots under plastic mulch on 7 May 2008. Within each of three replicate blocks, harvest date (16 September, 7 October and 28 October) constituted the main plots and cultivar the sub plots within a split-plot design. Samples of whole crop, stover and cob from each plot were precision chopped and 6 kg of each were ensiled in laboratory silos for 130 days at 15 °C. After opening, sub-samples were subjected to chemical and microbial analyses, while aerobic stability and deterioration were estimated by measuring silage temperature during 8 days exposure to air. The rate of DM recovery of ensiled whole-crop, cob and stover was unaffected (P > 0.05) by harvest date or cultivar. No overall effects of harvest date or cultivar were observed on the aerobic stability or aerobic deterioration of whole-crop or stover silages. Cob silages harvested on 16 September underwent more (P < 0.05) aerobic deterioration than cob silages harvested at later dates. Cob silages produced from Nescio underwent less (P < 0.05) aerobic deterioration than for Tassilo, Beethoven and Andante.

Keywords

Harvest Date Maize Silage Plastic Mulch Silage Production Aerobic Stability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Funding for this study was provided under the National Development Plan through the Research Stimulus fund administered by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (RSF 07 501). The provision of maize seed by Seed Technology Ltd., Ballymountain, Ferrybank, Waterford, Ireland, the input into crop production and ensilage by B. Weldon and Grange farm staff and the chemical analyses by Grange laboratory staff are acknowledged.

References

  1. Farrell AD and Gilliland TJ (2011) Yield and quality of forage maize grown under marginal climatic conditions in Northern Ireland. Grass Forage Sci 66(2) 3–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fitzgerald JJ and Murphy JJ (1999) A comparison of low starch maize silage and grass silage and the effect of concentrate supplementation of the forages or inclusion of maize grain with the maize silage on milk production by dairy cows. Livest Prod Sci 57:95–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Johnson LM, Harrison JH, Davidson D, Mahanna WC, Shinners K and Linder D (2002) Corn silage management: effects of maturity, inoculation, and mechanical processing on pack density and aerobic stability. J Dairy Sci 85:434–444PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Keady TWJ, Lively FO, Kilpatrick DJ and Moss BW (2007) Effects of replacing grass silage with either maize or whole-crop wheat silages on the performance and meat quality of beef cattle offered two levels of concentrates. Animal 1:613–623PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Keane GP (2002) Agronomic factors affecting the yield and quality of forage maize in Ireland: effect of sowing date and plastic film treatment. Grass Forage Sci 57:3–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Keane GP, Kelly J, Lordan S and Kelly K (2003) Agronomic factors affecting the yield and quality of forage maize in Ireland: effect of plastic film system and seeding rate. Grass Forage Sci 58:362–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. McDonald P, Henderson AR and Heron SJR (1991) The biochemistry of silage. Chalcombe Publications, Bucks, UKGoogle Scholar
  8. McEniry J, O’Kiely P, Clipson NJW, Forristal PD and Doyle EM (2006) The microbiological and chemical composition of baled and precision-chop silages on a sample of farms in County Meath. Irish J Agr Food Res 45:73–83Google Scholar
  9. Muck RE (2010) Silage microbiology and its control through additives. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 39:183–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. O’Kiely P and Wilson RK (1991) Comparison of three silo types used to study in-silo processes. Irish J Agr Res, 30:53–60Google Scholar
  11. Phipps RH, Sutton JD, Beever DE and Jones AK (2000) The effect of crop maturity on the nutritional value of maize silage for lactating dairy cows. 3. Food intake and milk production. Brit Soc Anim Sci 71:401–409Google Scholar
  12. SAS (2002) Statistical analysis institute. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, N.C., USAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation CentreTeagasc, GrangeDunsanyIreland
  2. 2.School of Biology and Environmental ScienceUCD, BelfieldDublinIreland

Personalised recommendations