Effect of inoculants on whole-crop barley silage fermentation and dry matter disappearance in situ

A. N. Hristov, T. A. McAllister

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Whole-crop barley harvested at the mid-dough stage was ensiled in 3-L laboratory silos either directly (at 30.7% DM) or after wilting (37.8% DM), and with or without application of Inoculant A, B, or D. Each inoculant contained multiple strains of Lactobacillus plantarum and Enterococcus faecium. Two silos per treatment were opened on d 1, 3, 7, 15, and 47 for silage analysis. Wilted silages had higher (P < 0.05) pH than unwilted silages, and Inoculant B (unwilted crop) and Inoculants A, B, and D (wilted crop) decreased (P < 0.05) silage pH compared to the controls. Reducing sugars concentration was 36% lower (P < 0.05), on average, in the wilted than in the unwilted silages. Silages prepared with Inoculants B or D had lower (P < 0.05) concentrations of reducing sugars than the control. Wilting of the barley crop further increased the difference between inoculated and control silages (wilting x inoculation P < 0.05). Neither wilting nor silage inoculants affected concentrations of nonprotein N, ammonia N, or free amino acid N in silage. Wilting did not affect the concentration of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in the silages. Across DM levels, inoculant-treated silages had larger (P < 0.01) populations of LAB than did the uninoculated controls (7.1 × 109 vs 2.3 × 109 cfu/g silage DM). Wilting resulted in lesser (P < 0.05) silage lactic acid concentration than the directly ensiled crop. At both DM levels, lactic acid concentration was higher (P < 0.001) in inoculated silages than in controls. The in situ soluble and potentially degradable fractions of silage DM were not affected by wilting or inoculant treatment. The rate of degradation of the potentially degradable silage DM was 35% lower (P < 0.05) in wilted than in unwilted silage. As a result, the calculated effective degradability of silage DM was lower (P < 0.001) in wilted than in unwilted silage. Inoculants did not influence the rate of degradation or effective degradability of silage DM in the rumen. Whole-crop barley ensiled at approximately 30% DM (without wilting) contained higher concentrations of soluble sugars and lactic acid and had higher ruminal degradability of DM than wilted silage (38% DM). Although inoculants did not improve DM degradability of barley silage, lower terminal pH and increased concentrations of lactic acid may improve aerobic stability upon feed-out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-516
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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