Effect of temperature and duration of ensiling on in vitro degradation of maize silages in rumen fluid

M. Ali, J.W. Cone, N.A. Khan, W.H. Hendriks, P.C. Struik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of ensiling temperature and duration of ensiling on the feeding quality of whole-crop maize (Zea mays L.) silages were investigated. Samples of one cultivar of maize plants were collected from two different fields, grown in different years on sandy soils. Samples were collected when the whole-plant dry matter content was approximately 330 g/kg. Maize plants were chopped and ensiled in mini silos at three different ambient temperatures (5, 12 and 18 °C). The ensiling temperature affected the ensiling fermentation processes, causing different rates of pH decline and different final pH values. Samples from the silos were taken after 0 (not ensiled, i.e. control), 4, 8 and 16 weeks of ensiling. The silage samples were not dried, but ground-frozen under liquid nitrogen to pass a 1-mm sieve. The gas production technique was used to evaluate the influence of the ensiling temperature and the duration of ensiling on the degradation of the silage samples in rumen fluid. The gas production was highest when the maize was ensiled at 12 °C (p <0.0001). An increase in ensiling duration caused a decrease in silage pH, accompanied by a decrease in gas production (p <0.0001). The decrease in gas production was linearly related to the decrease in pH at the three temperatures. The present study shows that both ensiling temperature and ensiling duration play a significant role in the rumen degradability of maize silage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-257
JournalJournal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • fermentation
  • kinetics
  • storage
  • forage
  • length
  • model
  • corn

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