Effect of lucerne preservation method on the feed value of forage



BACKGROUND: Natural climatic wilt (NCW) and induced industrial wilt (IIW) are widely used as preservation methods for lucerne. Both of these methods reduce the quality of green forage due to respiration under NCW and heat damage under IIW. We compared the influence of these two preservation methods on nutritive value across a wide range of harvest conditions.

RESULTS: Cell wall content and cell wall-linked nitrogen values were higher (P < 0.05) in IIW than NCW. The preservation methods differed significantly (P < 0.05) in terms of soluble fraction, insoluble potentially degradable fraction of dry matter and effective degradability of dry matter. Nitrogen disappearance kinetics showed that the interactions of preservation by cut and preservation by phenological state were significant for the effective degradability of nitrogen. Organic matter digestibility was higher in lucerne preserved by NCW than IIW whereas cell wall digestibility was higher in lucerne preserved by IIW than NCW. Digestible organic matter intake did not differ between preservation methods (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Natural climatic wilt forage hay presents similar feed value to the induced industrial wilt alfalfa. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry