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Corn silage quality index: An index combining milk yield and silage nutritional and fermentation parameters.

D. P. Bu

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06-24-2020

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Abstract:

W48
Corn silage quality index: An index combining milk yield and silage nutritional and fermentation parameters.
R. M. H. Tharangani1, Y. K. Chen1, L. S. Zhao1, L. Ma1, P. J. Kononoff2, W. P. Weiss3, D. P. Bu*1,4. 1State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Beijing, China, 2Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE, 3Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State University Wooster, OH, 4CAAS-ICRAF Joint Lab on Agroforestry and Sustainable Animal Husbandry, World Agroforestry Centre, East and Central Asia Beijing, China.

Development of indexes based on milk yield of lactating dairy cows when fed corn silage-based diets in combination with silage quality parameters can provide clear guidance to assess the overall quality of the corn silage produced. This study was done to determine the minimum data set (MDS) for corn silage quality evaluation among commonly used parameters for nutritional and fermentation quality and to develop an integrated corn silage quality index (CSQI) based on standard scoring functions and weight assignment approach. Principal component analysis (PCA) and multiple regression analysis (MRA) were used to determine MDS and to assign parameter weights, whereas standard scoring functions were used to normalize silage quality parameters. A variety of corn silage samples (n = 390) representing spatial and seasonal heterogeneity, were collected from 195 intensive dairy farms in China and analyzed for 16 frequently used chemical and fermentation parameters. Concurrent with silage sampling, average daily milk yield respective to each silage was collected using 50 mid-lactating dairy cows fed corn silage-based diets (i.e., 39—48% DM corn silage in TMR) and used as the dependent variable in MRA. The silage quality parameters retained in the MDS included 30-h in vitro NDF digestibility, and concentrations (DM basis) of starch, crude protein, ether extract, ammonia and lactic acid. The CSQI was developed by summing normalized and weighted quality parameters retained in the MDS and the new index was evaluated against observed daily milk yield measurements. Accuracy and precision of predicting corn silage quality using MRA based CSQI were higher than those of the PCA-based CSQI. Thus, among the 2 multivariate approaches, the MRA was suggested for future corn silage quality evaluation, and MRA based CSQI provides an index to assess relative performance among different corn silage based on the overall quality.

Keywords: corn silage, quality index, milk yield.