Research outputs

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Main research question/goal
In this project ILVO refines the empirical knowledge of the nutritive value of silage maize for cattle. Current feed energy evaluation is based on fecal digested nutrients, but the place of digestion (rumen or intestines) and the rate of digestion may also affect the nutritive value of a feed. The latter elements largely determine the nature and amount of nutrients (acetic, propionic and butyric acid, glucose, fatty acids and amino acids). The energy in silage maize originates from starch as well as from digested cell walls. In this project we obtain more information about the variation in cell wall digestibility and rumen bypass of starch among silage maize cultivars.

Research approach
ILVO determines cell wall digestibility on about 120 maize cultivars using an in vitro technique with rumen fluid. The starch bypass percentage of about 60 cultivars is determined through incubations in nylon bags placed into the rumen of fistulated cows. The maize cultivars are selected in collaboration with the University College of Ghent from the comparative cultivar trials with silage maize (2011 & 2012) of the Agricultural Centre for Forages (LCV) and the Independent Centre for the Promotion of Forages (CIPF). With these reference data, NIRS calibrations will be developed by the Walloon Centre for Agricultural Research (CRA-W). We hereby provide a fast and more detailed estimation of the nutritive value in practice.

This project provides farmers with information about the cell wall digestibility and starch rumen bypass of commercial silage maize cultivars. This helps them to make a better choice of varieties based on their farm’s characteristics and specific ration. We publish the results of this project in a popularized publication and communicate the results to farmers via lectures. The data about cell wall digestibility and starch rumen bypass can also be used to compare trials of silage maize cultivars.

External partner(s)
Centre Indépendant des Produits Fourragères
Hogeschool Gent - Dept. BIOT
LCV - Landbouwcentrum Voedergewassen
Effective start/end date1/10/1131/12/14

ID: 4152665