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Evaluating silage quality of perennial forages seeded with annual sudangrass or sorghum-sudangrass hybrids as companion crop.

S. Thevakumaran

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06-24-2020

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Abstract:

W50
Evaluating silage quality of perennial forages seeded with annual sudangrass or sorghum-sudangrass hybrids as companion crop.
S. Thevakumaran*1, C. Matteau2, B. Baurhoo1,2, P. Seguin1, A. Mustafa1. 1McGill University Saint Anne De Bellevue, QC, Canada, 2Belisle Solution Nutrition Inc Saint-Mathias-sur-Richelieu, QC, Canada.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of a mixture of perennial forages (alfalfa, clover and tall fescue) seeded alone (control) or with different annual companion forages [sudangrass (SG), sudangrass brown midrib (BMR) gene 12 (BSG) or sorghum-sudangrass BMR gene 6 (BSSG)] on ensiling characteristics, and chemical composition and in vitro total-tract NDF digestibility (IVTTNDFD) of experimental silages. Experimental plots (8 replicates per treatments) were harvested at 60 d (1st cut) and 90 d (2nd cut) at the bud stage of alfalfa. Harvested forages at 90 d were ensiled in laboratory silos for 42 d. Forage indigestible NDF (iNDF) was calculated by in vitro incubation at 240 h whereas potentially degradable NDF (pdNDF) was calculated by subtracting iNDF from total NDF. Digestion rate (kd) of pdNDF was estimated by in vitro incubation at 24, 30 and 48 h. Data were analyzed as repeated measures using the MIXED procedure of SAS with fixed effects of treatment and cut. Chemical analysis of experimental silages showed that companion forages reduced (P < 0.0001) lignin and crude protein (P = 0.0006) concentrations but increased (P < 0.0001) NDF and ADF contents compared with the control. Neutral detergent insoluble protein (NDICP), water soluble carbohydrates, total digestible nutrients, and net energy of lactation were similar in all treatments whereas acid detergent insoluble protein (ADICP) was higher (P < 0.0001) for control than other treatments. In vitro TTNDFD followed the order (P < 0.0001): BSG and BSSG (average 64.7%) > SG (62.8%) > control (56.4%). Evidently, iNDF values were lower (P = 0.002) for SG, BSG and BSSG (average 19.5%) than control (28.9%). Digestion rate of potentially digestible NDF was higher (P < 0.0001) with companion forages than control. In conclusion, seeding perennial forages with SG, BSG or BSSG may improve chemical composition and NDF digestibility of silages.

Keywords: dairy cow, silage, fiber digestibility.

Biography: I, Ms. Sayanthika Thevakumaran, am a citizen of Sri Lanka. I am a Masters student in the department of Animal Science at McGill University since August 2018. I am very passionate about improving the nutrition of dairy cows. My research project is very innovative. For the first time, we are investigating the potential use of annual gramineaes forages, specifically Sudangrass and Sorghum-Sudangrass, in establishing new alfalfa fields to improve forage yields and forage quality. Results, so far obtained, are extremely interesting and may have immediate application in the dairy industry. Briefly, findings of this study may lead dairy producers to reconsider their seeding strategies when establishing new alfalfa fields.