Effects of bacterial silage inoculants on whole-crop maize silage fermentation and silage digestibility in rams

Author: B.D. Nkosi, R. Meeske, T. Langa & R.S. Thomas
Year: 2011
Issue: 4
Volume: 41
Page: 350 - 359

This study evaluated the effects of ensiling whole-crop maize with bacterial inoculants, Lactococcus lactis (LL) and Lactobacillus buchneri (LB), on the fermentation and nutrient digestibility in rams. Whole-crop maize (265 DM g/kg) was ensiled for 90 days in 210 L drums with no additive, or with LL or LB. After three months, the drums were opened and the silage was sampled for fermentation characteristics. Diets were produced by mixing the whole-crop maize silage with lucerne hay (90 : 10) on an “as fed” basis, and a digestibility study was conducted using five South African Mutton Merino rams (37.2 ± 2.2 kg live weight) per treatment. Inoculating maize silage with LL and LB reduced ammonia nitrogen concentration, but did not affect silage pH. The concentration of lactic acid was increased with LL compared to the other treatments. A higher concentration of acetic acid was obtained with LB inoculation compared to the other treatments. The aerobic stability of the silage was improved with LB while it was reduced with LL inoculation, as indicated by a higher CO2 production than the latter. The intake and digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, crude protein and fibre were improved by inoculation. Furthermore, inoculations resulted in improved nitrogen retention. It was concluded that the inoculants improved silage fermentation and diet digestibility. Inoculation with LB improved aerobic stability and LL inoculation reduced it.

Keywords: aerobic stability, Alfalfa, Lactobacillus buchneri, Lactococcus lactis, lucerne
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