Effects of alfalfa hay as a moisture absorbent on fermentation quality and effluent production in corn silage and performance of dairy cows

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Former M. Sc. Student, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, Campus of Aburaihan, University of Tehran, Iran

2 Professor, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, Campus of Aburaihan, University of Tehran, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, Campus of Aburaihan, University of Tehran, Iran

4 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, Campus of Aburaihan, University of Tehran, Iran


The objectives were to evaluate effects of adding alfalfa hay (AH) as moisture absorbent to corn forage upon ensiling on silage fermentation, effluent production and performance of late lactating Holstein cows. Corn forage with the initial dry matter content of 22%, left untreated or ensiled with 5 and 10% AH, on a fresh weight basis, for 90 days. Silage DM linearly increased, while effluent production, pH, NDF and water-soluble carbohydrates concentration linearly decreased as AH inclusion rate increased (P<0.05). An incomplete 2×3 Latin square experiment with nine late lactating Holstein cows consuming the above-mentioned silages  showed similar nutrient intake and milk production and composition while a linear increase in organic matter digestibility  with AH inclusion (P<0.05). Total chwing and eating times were unaffected, however, chewing and ruminating time spent /kg DM linearly decreased as AH inclusion rate increased (P<0.05). Ruminal pH and concentrations of VFA were similar across treatments. Results showed a strong effect of AH on reducing effluent from immature corn silage without having an adverse effect on silage fermentation and dairy cows’ performance. Using AH for controlling of effluent from corn silage is recommended.


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