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Effects of harvest date of timothy (Phleum pratense) on its nutritive value, and on the voluntary silage intake and liveweight gain of lambs
- Bernes, G., Hetta, M., Martinsson, K.
- Grass and forage science 2008 v.63 no.2 pp. 212-220
- Phleum pratense, feed conversion, finishing, gas production (biological), harvest date, heading, lambs, liveweight gain, neutral detergent fiber, nutritive value, organic matter, silage, voluntary intake
- The effects of harvest date of timothy on the chemical composition of herbage and silage, and on the voluntary intake, liveweight gain and feed conversion efficiency by finishing lambs, were evaluated. The herbage was harvested and ensiled on three dates: 16 June (before heading), 20 June and 26 June. The silages were analysed for chemical composition and degradation characteristics by an in vitro gas production (GP) technique with end-point measurements (72 h) of degradability of organic matter (OM) and neutral-detergent fibre (NDF). There were clear effects of later dates of harvest increasing the concentration of NDF, and reducing the degradability of OM and NDF, and the rate of GP, of silages made from this herbage. The silages were fed ad libitum to lambs in a feeding experiment using a Latin square design. Later harvest dates decreased the voluntary intake of silage, liveweight gain and feed conversion efficiency. Lambs fed the early-cut silage had a liveweight gain of 152 g d⁻¹ and those fed the silage harvested 10 d later had a liveweight gain of 76 g d⁻¹. Changes in the chemical composition of herbage and silage and in in vitro degradation characteristics of silages with later harvests were associated, to a large extent, with the reduction in voluntary intake and liveweight gain of lambs.