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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Effects of maturity stage, wilting and acid treatment on crude protein fractions and chemical composition of whole crop pea silages (Pisum sativum L.)

Rondahl, Tomas; Bertilsson, Jan; Martinsson, Kjell


In order to determine if maturity stage, and wilting or acid treatment, change the crude protein (CP) fraction distribution (determined according to the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System) of whole crop pea silages, a pea with variegated flowers (Pisum sativum ssp. arvense L, cv Timo) was compared to a white-flowered, semi-leafless pea (P. sativum ssp. hortense L, cv Capella). Herbage was harvested at three maturity stages being: pod set, pod swell and full pod, and either acid-treated or wilted. Timo was acid-treated using 4 (acid4), 6 (acid6) or 8 (acid8) L/tonne fresh matter (FM) with a 2:1 mixture of formic and propionic acid, or wilted to a dry matter (DM) content of about 400 g/kg. Capella was treated with acid6 or wilted. Herbage was ensiled for 103 days in 10 kg laboratory silos. Despite differences in wilting conditions, all wilted herbages had similar protein fraction distributions. In the Capella silages the soluble CP content was lower in the later maturity stages, but this was not the case in the Timo silages. The amount of acid added only affected the B1 CP fraction content, which decreased with increasing acid. At pod set and pod swell for Timo, and at pod set for Capella, the direct-harvested herbages were difficult to ensile because of the high buffering capacity and low level of water soluble carbohydrates. Wilting improved ensilability. Acid treatment reduced proteolysis, but crops with DM contents below 150 g/kg must be acid treated with at least 6 L/tonne FM to ensure stable fermentation. Timo silages were more prone to malfermentation, probably caused by lodging, which made Capella the preferred cultivar for producing pea silages harvested at the pod swell stage or later. Proteolysis and the amount of soluble CP in the silage were lower in later maturity stages in the Capella, but not the Timo. cultivar. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Peas; Whole-crop silage; Ruminant; Nitrogen losses; Cultivars

Published in

Animal Feed Science and Technology
2011, volume: 163, number: 1, pages: 11-19

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden
Bertilsson, Jan
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management
Martinsson, Kjell
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science
Veterinary Science

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