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Agronomía Costarricense

Print version ISSN 0377-9424


VILLALOBOS, Luis  and  ARCE, Jose. Effect of chopping on the nutritional and fermentative characteristics of kikuyu, perennial ryegrass and reed canary grass based silages. Agron. Costarricense [online]. 2016, vol.40, n.1, pp.65-74. ISSN 0377-9424.

The effect of chopping on the nutritional and fermentative traits of 3 grasses (kikuyu, perennial ryegrass and reed canary grass) was evaluated. Two microsilos of each pasture were elaborated in polyethylene bags of 1 kg capacity, and 2 treatments were applied (chopped or non-chopped). Each microsilo received 3% (fresh weight) of sugarcane molasses and 0.1% of a farm-made inoculum (made of sour milk, whey, and molasses). Grass species was the overriding factor on the nutritional and fermentative traits of the microsilos, while chopping showed no clear trend on the parameters evaluated. The contents of CP (14.40 to 19.35%), NDF (46.25 to 63.16%), and IVDMD (46.15 to 65.55%) in the silages denotes their potential to meet a large share of the nutritional requirements of dairy cattle. Ensiled perennial ryegrass reached the lowest pH levels (4.41 to 4.83) and kikuyu grass had the lowest values for buffer capacity (79.12 to 81.17 mEq NaOH 100 g-1 DM) and ammonia nitrogen (1.03 to 1.33%). Grass-based silages can be used as supplements with a higher nutritious value than hays used in rations for dairy cattle in highelevation regions.

Keywords : Silage; cool-season grasses; chop length; NDF; additives.

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