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The nutritive value of Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) when treated with CaO, NaOH or a microbial inoculant and offered to dairy heifers as big-bale silage

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Abdul Chaudhry


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A series of laboratory and animal studies examined the use of chemical and biological agents to enhance the digestibility of Rhodes grass (grass) cut at 60 (young) and 100 (mature) days of regrowth and ensiled as big round bales. The treatments included an untreated control (C), a microbial inoculant (1), NaOH, CaO and NaOH plus inoculant (NaOH + I). Inoculant was grown anaerobically, using a starter culture of rumen fluid from cattle given Rhodes grass. Treatments C, I, NaOH, NaOH + I, were offered separately to twelve dairy heifers, in a 3 × 4 randomized complete block design, repeated twice for each grass silage. C and I had substantial mould growth, compared with no visible mould in NaOH or NaOH + I. CaO treatment was effective in preventing mould growth, but had little effect on the chemical composition and in sacco digestibility of mature grass silage. NaOH reduced NDF content and increased in sacco digestibility (P < 0.05) but not the in vivo digestibility (P > 0.05) of both mature- and young-grass silage. The effects of other treatments on nutritive value were non-significant at both stages of maturity. NaOH increased the intake of mature-grass silage by 24-26% (P < 0.05), but had little effect on the intake of young-grass silage (P > 0.05). Treatment I consistently reduced grass silage intake (P < 0.05) for young-grass silage. The findings of these studies show that treating mature Rhodes grass with NaOH will improve its nutritive value and reduce mould growth in conserved herbage. However none of the treatments in this study had any consistently positive effects on the in vivo nutritive value or storage quality of young-grass silage. © 2001 British Society of Animal Science.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chaudhry AS, Cowan RT, Granzin BC, Klieve AV

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Animal Science

Year: 2001

Volume: 73

Issue: 2

Pages: 329-340

Print publication date: 01/01/2001

ISSN (print): 1357-7298

ISSN (electronic): 1748-748X

Publisher: Cambridge University Press