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J Dairy Sci. 2006 Aug;89(8):3122-32.

Influence of ensiling temperature, simulated rainfall, and delayed sealing on fermentation characteristics and aerobic stability of corn silage.

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Department of Animal Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110910, Gainesville 32611, USA.


The aim of this study was to determine how delayed silo sealing, high ensiling temperatures, and rainfall at harvest affect the fermentation and aerobic stability of corn silage. One-half of each of 4 replicated, 6 x 1.5 m plots of a corn hybrid was harvested at 35% dry matter (Dry), and each of the other halves was harvested after they were sprinkled with sufficient water to simulate 4 mm of rainfall (Wet). Six representative (2 kg) subsamples were taken from the Wet and Dry forage piles and ensiled immediately (Prompt). Three hours later, 6 additional representative (2 kg) samples were taken from each pile and ensiled (Delay). Half of the bags from each moisture x sealing time treatment combination were stored for 82 d in a 40 degrees C incubator (Hot) and the other half were stored in a 20 degrees C air-conditioned room (Cool). A 2 (moisture treatments) x 2 (sealing times) x 2 (ensiling temperatures) factorial design with 3 replicates per treatment was used for the study. Wetting the corn silage increased concentrations of NH(3)-N, ethanol, and acetic acid. Ensiling at 40 instead of 20 degrees C increased pH, in vitro digestibility, and concentrations of NH(3)-N, residual water-soluble carbohydrates and acid detergent insoluble crude protein. The higher ensiling temperature also reduced concentrations of neutral and acid detergent fiber and lactic and acetic acid. Delayed sealing reduced concentrations of NH(3)-N and total volatile fatty acids. Wetting, high temperature ensiling, and delayed sealing each reduced yeast counts slightly, and marginally (8 h) increased aerobic stability. Hot-Wet-Delay silages were more stable than other silages but had the lowest lactic to acetic acid ratio, and total volatile fatty acid concentration. This study indicates that the fermentation of corn silage is adversely affected by wet conditions at harvest and high ensiling temperatures, whereas delayed silo sealing for 3 h caused no adverse effects.

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