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Conservation, fiber digestibility, and nutritive value of corn harvested at 2 cutting heights and ensiled with fibrolytic enzymes, either alone or with a ferulic acid esterase-producing inoculant.

Lynch, J.P., Baah, J., and Beauchemin, K.A. (2015). "Conservation, fiber digestibility, and nutritive value of corn harvested at 2 cutting heights and ensiled with fibrolytic enzymes, either alone or with a ferulic acid esterase-producing inoculant.", Journal of Dairy Science (JDS), 98(2), pp. 1214-1224. doi : 10.3168/jds.2014-8768  Access to full text

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of the use of a fibrolytic enzyme product, applied at ensiling either alone or in combination with a ferulic acid esterase-producing bacterial additive, on the chemical composition, conservation characteristics, and in vitro degradability of corn silage harvested at either conventional or high cutting height. Triplicate samples of corn were harvested to leave stubble of either a conventional (15 cm; NC) or high (45 cm; HC) height above ground. Sub-samples of chopped herbage were ensiled untreated or with a fibrolytic enzyme product containing xylanases and cellulases applied either alone (ENZ) or in combination with a ferulic acid esterase-producing silage inoculant (ENZ+FAEI). The fibrolytic enzyme treatment was applied at 2 mL of enzyme product/kg of herbage dry matter (DM), and the inoculant was applied at 1.3 × 105 cfu/g of fresh herbage. Samples were packed into laboratory-scale silos, stored for 7, 28, or 70 d, and analyzed for fermentation characteristics, and samples ensiled for 70 d were also analyzed for DM losses, chemical composition, and in vitro ruminal degradability. After 70 d of ensiling, the fermentation characteristics of corn silages were generally unaffected by cutting height, whereas the neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, and ash concentrations were lower and the starch concentration greater for silages made with crops harvested at HC compared with NC. After 70 d of ensiling, the acetic acid, ethanol concentrations, and the number of yeasts were greater, and the pH and neutral detergent fiber concentrations were lower, in silages produced using ENZ or ENZ+FAEI than the untreated silages, whereas ENZ+FAEI silages also incurred higher DM losses. No effect of additive treatment was observed on in vitro degradability indices after 48 h ruminal incubation. The use of a fibrolytic enzyme product, either alone or in combination with a ferulic acid esterase-producing inoculant, at ensiling did not improve corn silage fermentation or its nutritive value and resulted in some negative effects on these parameters. The effects of using a fibrolytic enzyme product at ensiling, either alone or in combination with a ferulic acid esterase-producing inoculant, did not differ between corn harvested at either NC or HC. Silage made from HC had a greater starch content and lower fiber content than NC silage, whereas cutting height did not affect the in vitro digestibility indices.

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