Tifton 81 bermudagrass was harvested and ensiled either directly (D; 32.4% DM) or wilted (W; 44.1% DM). Four treatments applied to each harvesting method were 1) control (C), or no additive; 2) dried cane molasses (M) at 5% of DM; 3) microbial inoculant (I; Pioneer 1174); and 4) a combination of Treatments 2 and 3 (MI). Wilting reduced the rate of decline of silage pH (P = .001) and produced silages with greater lactic acid concentrations (P = .069), lower acetic acid (P = .001) and ammonia contents (P = .001), and greater in vitro OM (IVOMD; P = .001) and ADF digestibilities (IVADFD; P = .001). These high-quality silages were less stable under aerobic conditions, as evidenced by greater average temperatures (P = .001) and greater yeast and mold counts (P = .001). Adding M to D forage resulted in silage with lower pH (P = .001), greater concentration of lactic acid (P = .001), greater IVOMD (P = .092), and lower acetic acid (P = .009) and ammonia concentrations (P = .002) than inoculated D silage. Wilted silage treated with MI averaged lower pH (P = .025), greater lactic acid content (P = .001) and IVOMD (P = .001), and lower acetic acid (P = .001) and ammonia concentrations than silages treated with M or I alone. These results indicate that wilting improved bermudagrass silage the most, and that the addition of molasses and inoculant to wilted bermudagrass further enhanced silage quality.
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