Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1953 Page: 65
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FORAGE CROPS, PASTURES, AND RANGES 65
nomical and more easily applied (being in powder form) than any
preservative now available.
The Pennsylvania station reports that bisulfite-treated grass silage
is green in color and possesses an odor resembling fresh-cut crops.
The carotene content of this silage is higher than either untreated
silage or that preserved with molasses.
Sulfur dioxide appears to be a very satisfactory silage preservative,
according to the New Hampshire station. Nicotinic acid and riboflavin
are not greatly affected by sulfur dioxide, but this preservative
destroys much of the thiamine in the silage. Sulfur dioxide, however,
produces conditions in the rumen favorable to synthesis of
thiamine by the animal.
The New Jersey station has made tests of dehydrated molasses and
molasses dehydrated with dried brewer's grains as preservatives of
grass silage. The latter was quite satisfactory, except for cost, but
the dehydrated molasses used was too sticky to handle properly. Preliminary
tests with sodium metabisulfite indicated that it has good
possibilities, based on general appearance and palatability of the
In New York, where timothy is the most commonly grown hay
plant, farmers have hesitated to use nitrogen to increase yields because
it was feared that the increased tonnage would lengthen the curing
time and reduce hay quality. However, research at the New York
(Cornell) station shows that doubling a 3/4 ton per acre yield of
timothy lengthened the curing time only 1 hour and trebling a 1/2 ton
per acre yield lengthened the curing time 2 hours. The grades for the
higher-yielding, nitrogen-treated hays were always as high or higher
than the grades for the check plots.
The New York (Cornell) station also found that sodium metabisulfite
and sulfur dioxide were the most effective silage preservatives in
preventing fermentation losses. However, the station also learned
that early-cut, unwilted forage could be made into satisfactory silage
without a preservative.
The Ohio station showed that the use of tight boxes for holding a
week's supply of silage may be economical for the small feeder. Labor
is reduced and spoilage can be retarded by covering exposed surfaces
with paper sealed with limestone.
In a hay-curing experiment at the Wisconsin station, it was found
that substantial losses of carotene occur with all curing methods used
on alfalfa and red clover but that the greatest losses result from exposure
to moisture and sun combined. Crushing the forage usually
increases the field-curing rate, but weather conditions, the density of
the crop, and the degree of crushing are factors that have a marked
effect on the field-curing rate.
The effects of crushing and maceration on grass and legume silage
were also studied at the Michigan station. Thorough maceration
speeded up fermentation and gave an improved silage. Ordinary
crushing of both chopped and long forage did not increase the quality
of silage in an upright silo but when the forage was placed in a trench
silo, the crushing of the silage was apparently beneficial.
The type of harvesting method used for alfalfa hay apparently has
little effect on preserving the carotene and tocopherol contents, according
to preliminary trials by the Nevada station. Hay that had been
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United States. Office of Experiment Stations. Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1953, book, 1953; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5989/m1/67/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.