Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment


Feeding value of silages from big bales and clamp silos at different degrees of wilting in dairy cows


The impact of different silage systems and the extent of wilting on silage quality, feed intake and milk yield were measured in a feeding trial using six Simmental and six Holstein-Friesian cows in a 6 x 6 Latin square design. The treatments were grass silages produced in a clamp silo (FS) or as big bale silage with a constant (K) or a variable (V) pressing chamber, each wilted to 40 or 60 % DM (3 x 2 factorial design).

There were only small differences in silage quality between the different silage systems, but clear differences between the two extents of wilting. Intensive wilting leads to a high pH-value, low concentration of lactic acid and a high number of yeasts.

In tendency, the energy concentration and digestibility of organic matter (dOM) was higher in the big bale silages. The energy concentration of concentrate and maize silage was estimated on the basis of in vivo-digestibility coefficients (wethers), the energy concentration of the different grass silages with the in vitro gas production test (Hohenheimer Futterwerttest). The energy concentration was significantly lower in silages with high DM content. Only small differences in forage intake and milk yield from forage could be found. The feed intake was slightly higher in silages with high DM content. There were also no significant differences in actual milk yield between the groups. The data show that big bale silages could be used especially in summer feeding of silages or in cases were a certain forage quality is needed for different groups of animals according to their yield.

Key words: silage system, big bale silage, feed value, dairy cows.