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Ensiling characteristics, in vitro rumen fermentation, microbial communities and aerobic stability of low‐dry matter silages produced with sweet sorghum and alfalfa mixtures

Chen, Lei, Dong, Zhihao, Li, Junfeng, Shao, Tao
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2019 v.99 no.5 pp. 2140-2151
Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Fibrobacter succinogenes, Prevotella, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, acetic acid, acid detergent fiber, alfalfa, ammonium nitrogen, animal feeding, animal performance, crude protein, feed quality, fermentation, grasses, lactic acid, methane production, microbial communities, neutral detergent fiber, pH, rumen fermentation, ruminants, short chain fatty acids, silage, silage making, sweet sorghum
BACKGROUND: Silages produced with grass and legume mixtures may have positive associative effects on silage quality and animal performance when ruminants are fed the silages. The present study aimed to determine the preservation characteristics, in vitro rumen fermentation profile and microbial abundance of silages, produced with mixtures of sweet sorghum (SS) and alfalfa (AF) in different ratios: 100:0 (Control), 75:25 (SA25), 50:50 (SA50), 25:75 (SA75) and 0:100 (SA100) on a fresh weight basis. RESULTS: As the proportion of AF increased in the silages, pH, acetic acid, ammonia nitrogen and crude protein (CP) concentrations, and aerobic stability increased (P < 0.05), whereas lactic acid and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) concentrations decreased (P < 0.05). Increasing the proportion of AF in the silages, increased (P < 0.05) the in vitro degradability of dry matter and CP, as well as the proportions of genus Prevotella, but decreased (P < 0.05) the in vitro degradability of NDF (IVNDFD) and ADF (IVADFD) and proportions of Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens. Compared to the Control silage, SA25 silage had greater (P < 0.05) proportions of Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminococcus flavefaciens, IVNDFD, IVADFD, ruminal short chain fatty acids and microbial protein concentrations, as well as lower (P < 0.05) methane production. CONCLUSION: The silage produced with the SS to AF ratio of 75:25 was the most suitable for ruminants use as a result of the optimal balance of fermentation quality, feed‐nutritional value and aerobic stability. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry