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Agricultural Journal
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 4  |  Issue: 1  |  Page No.: 41 - 45

Ensilability Characteristics and Silage Fermentation of Galega (Galega officinalis L.)

P.G. Peiretti    

Abstract: Galega (Galega officinalis L.) is one of the least investigated perennial leguminous herbs. It is usually present in natural pastures, grazed by animals, in Mediterranean areas and in the Italian Alps and Apennines below 1000 m. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the stage of maturity on the ensilability characteristics and to evaluate the fermentation quality of silage produced from first cut and regrowth of G. officinalis in the Po valley, northern Italy. The growth of G. officinalis was characterised by a rapid Dry Matter (DM) accumulation in the herbage during development and the DM content increased from 111-157 g kg-1 Fresh Matter (FM), while at the regrowth stage it was 180 g kg-1 FM. No significant changes were observed in the pH or Water Soluble Carbohydrates (WSC) content. The Buffering Capacity (BC) was lower at the regrowth than at the other three first cut stages, while Total Nitrogen (TN) and Soluble Nitrogen (SN) were low at the budding stage. Three types of silage without additives, wilted silage 1 day after wilting at the budding stage, wilted silage 2 days after wilting at the budding stage and wilted silage 1 day after wilting at the regrowth stage were prepared to investigate the effects of wilting on the chemical composition and characterstics of silage fermentation. The results of ensiling indicate that the fermentation of pure G. officinalis is characterized by the presence of alcohol and acetic acid and a lack of lactic acid and butyric acid. The good results obtained in lab-scale silos would seem to suggest that G. officinalis has the potential for large scale ensiling, if galega is harvested at the budding stage or during regrowth and then wilted to a DM level of >350 g kg-1 FM.

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