Get access

Silage quality and preservation of Urtica cannabina ensiled alone and with additive treatment

Authors

  • X. Q. Zhang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition Institute of Grassland Science, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China
    2. Grassland Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hohhot, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Y. M. Jin,

    1. Faculty of Marine Studies, Shandong University at Weihai, Weihai, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Y. J. Zhang,

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition Institute of Grassland Science, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China
    • Correspondence to: Y. J. Zhang, State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Grassland Science, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.

      E-mail: zhangyj@cau.edu.cn

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Z. Yu,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition Institute of Grassland Science, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • W. H. Yan

    1. Grassland Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hohhot, China
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Urtica cannabina (U. cannabina), a member of the Urticaceae family, is widely distributed throughout the temperate regions of the world and can be used as a nutritious feed for animals through the winter period. To provide high-quality forage all year-round, we treated freshly harvested U. cannabina without additives (control), but with corn flour (CF) (5:1 w/w), molasses (2, 4, and 8% fresh weight), or LalsiL Dry (LD) inoculant (5, 10 and 20 mg kg−1 of fresh weight). We then assessed the chemical composition, in vitro digestibility and fermentative parameters of the products after 0, 3, 5, 15, 20 and 60 d of ensiling. The results showed that: (i) U. cannabina had large quantities of protein and some essential minerals, including calcium, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper and manganese, and was particularly rich in magnesium and iron. (ii) U. cannabina can be preserved as a highly nutritious silage. No additive treatment or the LD inoculant treatments produced badly preserved silages. The 2% molasses treatment produced badly preserved silage, but 4–8% molasses produced well-preserved silages. The CF treatment also produced well-preserved silage. We recommend the application rates of molasses at 4–8% of fresh weight or 5:1 CF to improve U. cannabina silage.

Ancillary