R. Bras. Zootec.. 01/Oct/2016;45(10):596-603.
Effects of ensiling density on nutritive value of maize and sorghum silages
Studies were conducted to determine the effects of different ensiling densities on fermentation, aerobic stability, and nutritive value of maize and sorghum silages. Maize and sorghum were harvested at dough (363 g/kg) and milk stages (275 g/kg), respectively. Herbages were chopped approximately 1.5 cm after harvest and then ensiled in mini silos at high and low-bulk densities for 8.5 weeks. Different bulk densities were achieved by ensiling different weights of herbage in the fixed-volume mini silos (1.5-L anaerobic jars, Weck, Germany). The obtained dry matter (DM) densities were 168 and 216 kg of DM/m3 for maize forage and 132 and 178 kg of DM/m3 for sorghum forage. Fermentation kinetics, the rate of aerobic deterioration upon aerobic exposure, and nutrient digestibility were followed during the periods of ensiling (on days 2, 4, 8, 15, and 60). In all cases, increased packing density resulted in silages with lower acetate content, ammonium N levels, and fermentation losses, but lactate content did not differ. Butyrate was detected in appreciable amounts only in sorghum silage. Propionate was not detected in any silage. Tightly packed silages remained stable upon exposure to air. Tight packing increases the digestibly of nutrients and improves the energy content of silages. These data show that high density limits air infiltration and reduces the oxidation loss during storage and feed-out. As a consequence, more dry matter is recovered and more energy is preserved.