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Main research question/goal

The aim of this project is to develop a method to score cell wall digestibility of ensiled maize from different breeds of maize. The aim is to add an additional and very useful feed parameter to the "variety lists" the official assessment of the (new and recent) commercial maize varieties from which farmers choose their seed. In concrete terms, a robust NIRS calibration is developed for estimating the cell wall (NDFD) of silage maize.

Research approach

This project is based on good research results from earlier studies: ILVO has already developed a basic NIRS calibration for estimating the NDFD of silage maize with the in vitro digesitbility in rumen fluid used as a reference method. This calibration is now validated and updated with samples of the seasons 2017, 2018 and 2019, originating from the official variety testing research at ILVO as well as the VARMABEL network (variety testing from CIPF and LCV). The researchers plan for each of the 3 years a selection of 20 samples of the ILVO and 20 from VARMABEL, on the basis of the NIRS spectrum, on which NDFD is analysed using the reference method.


The extra feeding value parameter "cell wall digestibility" (NDFD) in the variety list will give the farmer the opportunity to make a better choice for maize cultivar in function of the portion of maize silage in his ration and the cattle type (dairy, beef). The knowledge of NDFD will enable breeding companies better to select maize varieties with a higher feeding value for silage maize. Further specific varieties for different farm types will possibly come onto the market. The new methodology gets a direct application at the official variety testing at ILVO, as well as by the variety comparisons done via other Belgian networks such as the LCV.

Funding provider(s)
Fonds Landbouw en Visserij

External partner(s)
Hogeschool Gent
Effective start/end date1/04/1931/03/20

ID: 6974519