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The effect of additives in silages of pure timothy and timothy mixed with red clover on chemical composition and in vitro rumen fermentation characteristics

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The aim was to compare the effects of additives on direct cut silages of pure timothy and timothy mixed with tetraploid red clover. First and second growth cuts were ensiled during three consecutive years, 1994, 1995 and 1996, either without any additive or with the addition of formic acid, or lactic acid bacteria in combination with molasses. Effects of the additives on the degradation characteristics of the herbage and the silages were analysed using an automatic in vitro gas production (GP) technique. At the end of the in vitro procedures, organic matter and neutral-detergent fibre (NDF) degradabilities were determined.

The tetraploid red clover persisted in the leys during the 3 years and was the dominant species at the second growth in the mixed leys. The herbage from the mixed crops had lower dry-matter contents, higher crude protein concentrations and higher buffering capacity compared with the pure timothy at both cuts. In general, the additives reduced pH, and the concentrations of ammonium-N and acetic acid in the silages. The treated silages had a more rapid faster GP in both crops.

The silages from the mixed crop benefited more from the additives compared with the grass silages. The additives affected the soluble fractions as well as the NDF degradability of the silages of the mixed crop more than those fractions of the grass silages. The addition of molasses in combination with a commercial inocula resulted in increased production of lactic acid and ethanol in silages from both crops. The silages without additives could not meet the requirements for good silages according to the standards of the Swedish dairy industry.
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Keywords: chemical composition; formic acid; in vitro gas production; lactic acid bacteria; molasses; neutral-detergent fibre degradability; organic matter degradability; red clover; timothy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, Umeå, Sweden 2: Animal Sciences Group, Nutrition and Food, Lelystad, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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