Results of digestibility trials on fresh and ensiled maize (aerial parts) were analysed and compared with laboratory data. Digestibility of the organic matter of ears was almost constant at 84-85%. Digestibility of organic matter of stover showed great variation. Variation between animals in apparent digestibility of organic matter was greater for maize diets than for diets based on grass products. Most of the differences between animals were caused by differences in the digestion of cell walls. When the true digestibility of cell contents was assumed to be complete, endogenous excretion was, on average, only 7% with respect to organic matter intake, and seemed dependent on digestibility of organic matter. Prediction of apparent digestibility was more accurate with digestibility in vitro than with crude fibre, although for maize silage, significant relationships were found between crude fibre content and digestibility of organic matter. Standard deviation of organic matter digestibility between lots of fresh and ensiled maize grown on commercial farms amounted to only about 1.2 -2%. As this was only twice the accuracy of digestibility in vivo with four animals, fixed values will be presented to farmers, possibly corrected for year, hybrid selection and cropping practice.
Deinum, B., Steg, A., & Hof, G. (1984). Measurement and prediction of digestibility of forage maize in The Netherlands. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 10(4), 301-313. https://doi.org/10.1016/0377-8401(84)90026-9