Evaluation of ensiled whole-crop legumes for ruminants

Hart, Kenton James (2005). Evaluation of ensiled whole-crop legumes for ruminants. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f644


Experiments evaluating the production methods and nutritive values of ensiled whole-crop legumes for ruminants were conducted. The initial experiment studied the effect of direct-cutting or wilting and additive type on ensiling profile and nutritive value of whole-crop pea (WCP) and bean silages differing in condensed tannin (CT) content. All treatments produced lactic-type silages with a mean DM, pH, CP and NH3-N content of 209 g kg-1, 4.1, 158 g kg-1 DM and 80 g kg-1 TN respectively. Mean WCP had a higher (P<0.050) DM, CP, IVDOMD and estimated ME content compared to beans.

In subsequent experiments degradation characteristics of WCP silages differing in CT content were determined. In addition, the effect of dietary inclusion of WCP on lamb growth rate, nitrogen balance and dairy cow milk production were investigated. WCP had a greater (P0.001) nitrogen degradation and higher (P<0.050) effective degradability compared to grass silage (GS). Lambs were fed diets containing GS or GS/WCP supplemented with barley, with or without an additional 200 g d-1 soya-bean meal (SBM). Feeding WCP silage increased (P<0.050) mean growth rate by 21.9 g d-1 but forage DM intake was not affected, equating to a SBM replacement equivalent of 95 g d-1. Including WCP silage in diets did not affect lamb nitrogen balance (mean 11.3 g d-1) or microbial protein synthesis (mean 14.8 g N d-1). WCP silage was added to dairy cow rations which were supplemented with either 1.1 kg d-1 of SBM or wheat. Performance was evaluated against a control diet supplemented with SBM. Feeding WCP silage in dairy rations increased (P<0.050) forage DM intake in contrast to the control diet. However, no effect on milk or milk component yield (mean 24.0 kg, 1.02 kg fat and 0.83 kg protein d-1 respectively) was observed, equating to a daily SBM replacement of 1.1 kg.

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