Morphological characteristics of maize plants in estimate the silage chemical composition
Keywords:Plant height, Aerobic stability, Microbial inoculants, Maize Silage, Urea
The aim of this study was to estimate the chemical composition of maize silage based on the morphological characteristics of maize plants and to evaluate the effect of nitrogen fertilization and the inclusion of a microbial inoculant during the ensiling process on the production of maize silage and its morphological, qualitative and fermentative characteristics. The experimental treatments consisted of four levels of nitrogen fertilization with urea (0, 100, 200 and 300 kg ha-1) and the inclusion or exclusion of the microbial inoculants during the ensiling process. A completely randomized design was used in a 4×2 factorial arrangement of treatments. The maize silage chemical composition was estimated by evaluating the plant height (PH) and ear characteristics (NRE = number of rows per ear; NKE = number of kernels per ear; ELS = ear length with straw; EL = ear length without straw) using the following equations: CP = -12.44 + 5.871 × PH + 0.01814 × NRE² (R² = 0.89; P < 0.0001); NDF = 587.93-0.78 × NKE-11.67 × ELS-0.47 × EL + 0.0000007 × NKE³ + 0.006 × EL³ (R² = 0.92; P = 0.003); ADF = 41.48 -0.046 × NRE2 (R2 = 0.42; P = 0.02); TDN = 57.81 - 0.0319 × NRE2 (R2 = 0.42; P = 0.02); EDDM = 56.58 + 0.035 × NRE2 (R2 = 0.42; P = 0.02) and NEL = 1.31 + 0.000757 × NRE2 (R2 = 0.41; P = 0.02). In conclusion, nitrogen fertilization increases the silage energy and protein content; while the inclusion of microbial inoculants during the ensiling process does not alter the chemical and fermentative characteristics of the maize silage.
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