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Report, 2004

Pea and pea-grain mixtures as whole crop protein silage for dairy cows

Rondahl, Tomas


In this review the use of pea and pea/grain mixtures as whole crop protein silage for dairy cows is discussed. An introductory discussion concerns the ensilage process and protein degradation and effects of different silage additives. To minimise protein loss, prewilting time should be kept short. An acid additive will reduce respiration and thereby reduce protein degradation. The main part of the review discusses nutritional and botanical changes during development as well as results from both in vitro and in vivo experiments. The crude protein content of pea crops is relatively stable throughout development; therefore the cereal crop frequently determines optimal time of harvest. The choice of crop variety is important. The pea crop should have a not too high content of condensed tannins and high content of protein. Furthermore the pea crop should be of a semi-leafless variety with short and stiff stem. The cereal crop can preferably be stiff stalked oat that develops at a similar rate to the pea variety. Several production trials have shown that whole-crop pea silage is highly palatable for cows and can be consumed in large quantities due to the low NDF content in combination with a high rumen passage. Furthermore, whole-crop pea silage has a good balance between protein and energy, and appears to have a concentrate-saving capacity in feed rations


Pea; whole crop silage; protein; rumen

Published in

Publisher: SLU

Editors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden

UKÄ Subject classification

Veterinary Science
Animal and Dairy Science
Agricultural Science

URI (permanent link to this page)