Monday, November 13, 2006

Nutritive Value and Silage Quality Characteristics of Kura Clover-Reed Canary Grass Mixtures and Alfalfa.

Kenneth A. Albrecht1, Francisco E. Contreras-Govea1, and Richard E. Muck2. (1) Agronomy Department UW-Madison, 1575 Linden Drive, 1575 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1597, (2) USDA Dairy Forage Research Center, 1925 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706

Kura clover (Trifolium amgibuum Bieb.)-reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) (KRC) mixtures are much more persistent than alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in Wisconsin. Our objective was to compare yield, nutritive value, and silage characteristics of KRC and alfalfa in late spring and early summer. First and second growth forage were sampled in four replicates near Arlington, WI. Alfalfa and KRC were harvested and ensiled four times, at one-week intervals, in both May and June. Two 0.5 L glass jars per treatment per replicate were ensiled and allowed to ferment for a minimum of 30 days at room temperature (~ 25oC).  First growth KRC yielded 1.3 to 1.5 Mg ha-1 more dry matter than alfalfa over the four sample dates, while no differences were found in second growth. The neutral detergent fiber concentration increased each week of sampling and was greater in KRC (423 to 549 g kg-1 DM) than in alfalfa (300 to 407 g kg-1 DM). Averaged over the four harvests, pH was lower in alfalfa than in KRC silage in spring (4.41 vs. 4.66), but greater in early summer (4.87 vs. 4.56). Alfalfa silage from both spring and summer growth contained about 21% greater lactic acid than KRC. This finding indicates that both forages had good fermentation, but KRC silage apparently had lower buffering capacity than alfalfa silage.  Yield and silage fermentation characteristics of KRC are comparable to alfalfa, but NDF concentrations are substantially greater.

Handout (.pdf format, 87.0 kb)