Akim T. Omokanye, Frank M. Kelleher and Alison McInnes
Centre for Horticulture and Plant Sciences, University of Western Sydney, Building
J4, Hawkesbury Campus, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC NSW 1797, Australia
School of Environment and Agriculture, University of Western Sydney, Building
K29, Hawkesbury Campus, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC NSW 1797, Australia
Peace Country Beef & Forage Association, Grande Prairie Regional College, Box 3000, Fairview,
Alberta, T0H 1L0, Canada
Key words: Maize, cropping systems, silage yield, silage quality, livestock nutrition.
Maize stover can be an inexpensive source of forage for ruminant livestock, which may be grazed, stacked or ensiled. In the present study, maize stover was evaluated for silage yield and quality in five cropping systems using three rates of N fertilizer (0, 60 and 120 kg N ha-1). The cropping system (CS) treatments consisted of cereal-legume (CS1, CS2 and CS3), cereal-cereal (CS4) or cereal-bare fallow (CS5) rotations. The study was part of a series of experiments conducted at Richmond in New South Wales, Australia, to examine the performance of soil, crop, animal (feed evaluation only) and economic components of cropping systems. For feed evaluation purpose, ensiling maize stover at maize grain harvest resulted in the highest silage yields from the CSs that included a legume in the rotation (CS1 and CS3). Silage yields showed significant and positive responses to the application of N fertilizer for all CSs. Silage quality for feeding ruminant animals was highest in terms of CP, P and Ca contents, Ca:P ratio and dry matter intake, for the maize-legume silages made from CS2 and CS3. Maize silage quality is discussed in relation to livestock nutrition requirements.
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