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Yield and nutritive value of sorghum silage cut at different harvesting heights.

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Yield and nutritive value of sorghum silage cut at different harvesting heights.
J. Granados-Niño1, J. Sánchez-Duarte2, D. Reta-Sánchez2, O. I. Santana2,3, M. López-Calderón1, E. Ochoa-Martínez2, F. Díaz*4. 1FAZ-UJED Venecia, Gómez Palacio, Durango, México, 2INIFAP Matamoros, Coahuila, México, 3INIFAP Aguascalientes, México, 4Dairy Research Center, dellait Brookings, SD.

The aim of this study was to assess yield and nutritional value of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) silage when harvested at 6 cutting-heights. The crop was planted in a warm and arid environment in northern Mexico, using a conventional seeding rate of 125,000 seeds/Ha, and fertilized and irrigated conforming to recommendations for the area. Plants were cut at milk-dough stage at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 cm stubble-height, chopped to 2 mm, and packed in 1-L glass mini-silos by triplicate at a density of 261 kg DM/m3. Data were analyzed as a completely randomized design using Fisher's protected LSD test for mean separation. Results (Table 1) showed forage DM yield was only significantly reduced at 60 cm stubble-height. Silage pH indicated cutting at 30 cm may allow for better fermentation than the other treatments. Silage DM and CP contents were not affected by cutting height, however NDF and lignin were greater when plants were cut at 10 cm stubble-height. Lignin notably declined at stubble-height greater than 20 cm. Silage estimated NEL was only lower when cutting at 10 cm stubble-height likely associated with lignified fiber. In contrast, NDF digestibility increased at higher stubble-heights, while NDF and NEL yields were similar among treatments. Overall, these findings indicate that harvesting sorghum for silage in a range of 20—40 cm stubble-height may optimize DM yield and nutritional value.Table 1.

ItemStubble-height at harvest (cm)LSD
DM yield (t/ha)18.69a18.50a18.12a17.76a17.27ab16.12b1.55
Silage pH4.39ab4.89a3.96b4.71ab4.68ab4.12ab0.86
DM (% of silage)29.4229.4629.2729.5029.6629.570.58
CP (%)6.376.506.
NDF (%)74.13a66.85b66.15b64.00b63.03b62.87b5.60
Lignin (%)8.12a7.70a6.35b6.85b6.42b6.46b0.83
NDFD30h (% NDF)27.43d29.33cd30.23c34.19b35.59b38.64a2.11
NDFD30h yield (t/ha)3.803.623.633.903.883.920.65
NEL (Mcal/kg DM)1.0b1.09ab1.09ab1.16a1.18a1.16a0.12
NEL yield (Mcal/ha)18,65920,09419,80820,54820,37118,6842,448
a—dMean difference using Fisher's protected LSD test (P < 0.05).

Keywords: Sorghum bicolor (L.), silage, nutrients.