Fibrolytic enzymes and a ferulic acid esterase-producing bacterial additive applied to alfalfa hay at baling: effects on fibre digestibility, chemical composition and conservation characteristics



This study evaluated the effect of two fibrolytic enzyme products, applied at baling, on the chemical composition and digestibility of alfalfa hay. Three replicate bales of alfalfa hay (82% dry matter) were produced with the application of one of five treatments including an untreated control and one of two fibrolytic enzyme products (DYC and ECO), either applied alone or in combination with a ferulic acid esterase-producing bacterial additive. The enzyme products were applied on the basis of endoglucanase activity. The neutral detergent fibre (NDF) concentration and accumulated temperature after storage of hay produced using DYC- or ECO-based treatments were greater (< 0·05) than untreated hay, except for hay bales produced using ECO alone. Bales produced using ECO-based treatments had a greater (< 0·05) in vitro NDF digestibility compared with untreated bales. The application of fibrolytic enzymes at baling may potentially improve NDF digestibility without negatively affecting chemical composition or increasing aerobic deterioration. However, the effects of fibrolytic enzymes varied depending on the product applied. Combining ferulic acid esterase-producing bacterial additives with fibrolytic enzymes did not improve the nutritive value of hay after storage.