Effects of moisture content or particle size on the in situ degradability of maize silage and alfalfa haylage in lactating dairy cows

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Abstract

A study using four Holstein cows with ruminal cannulas was conducted to evaluate the degradability of different moisture content or particle size of maize silage and alfalfa haylage. The maize silage (MS; 20-mm length) and alfalfa haylage (AH; 40-mm length) samples were wet (wet maize silage, MSW; wet alfalfa haylage, AHW), dried (dried maize silage, MSD; dried alfalfa haylage, AHD), or ground to pass through a 2.5-mm screen (dried ground maize silage, MSG; dried ground alfalfa haylage, AHG). Samples were incubated in the rumen for 2, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 h. Cows were fed ad libitum and allowed free access to water. High moisture content treatment of MSW expressed a lower rinsing NDF and ADF degradability at 2 h (P < 0.05) compared with dried samples (MSD and MSG). Different moisture content and particle size had a significant impact (P < 0.05) on the NDF degradability at 72 h, ADF degradability at 36, 48, and 72 h, and ruminally degradable ADF. All of the highest values were observed in small particle size and low moisture content AHG treatment. Based on this study, sample processing, such as drying and grinding, should be considered when evaluating nutritive values of forages.

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Zou, Y., Dong, S., Du, Y., Li, S., Wang, Y., & Cao, Z. (2016). Effects of moisture content or particle size on the in situ degradability of maize silage and alfalfa haylage in lactating dairy cows. Animal Nutrition, 2(3), 249–252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aninu.2016.05.002

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