The effect of a mixture of Lactobacillus strains on silage quality and nutritive value of grass harvested at four growth stages and ensiled for two periods
The effect of adding an inoculant containing Lactobacillus buchneri, L. plantarum and L. casei to wilted perennial ryegrass, harvested at four growth stages and ensiled for either 60 or 150 d on silage fermentation quality, chemical composition, rumen degradability of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and organic matter (OM) and in vitro OM digestibility (OMd) was studied. Compared to the control silage, more sugars were fermented to lactic and acetic acid with the inoculant, resulting in a lower pH, less dry matter losses and protein degradation and a better aerobic stability. The effects of the additive on fermentation quality were more pronounced after 150 than after 60 d of ensiling, because the quality of the control silage was worse after long ensiling period. The treatment lowered NDF content of grass harvested at the first two growth stages by degrading cell walls to complex sugars, but had no effect on NDF degradability of the silage. The inoculant had no effect on rumen OM degradability nor on OMd after the short ensiling period, but increased the rumen OM degradability for the first two growth stages and OMd for all growth stages after long ensiling period.