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Reconstituted sorghum grain silage for ruminants: effects of silage conservation and additive response

Abstract

The use of sorghum grain to produce silage to feed ruminants can be a low-cost alternative compared to corn grain silage, especially in areas suffering with drought. The disadvantage is that sorghum grain typically has lower nutritive value than corn grain due to its low starch digestibility. The lower nutritive value of the sorghum grain is due to the high concentration of protein matrix covering the starch grains, which reduces its digestibility. Because of this resistant protein matrix, the endosperm of the sorghum grain is denser and harder and, more resistant to water infiltration and to physical and enzymatic degradation than the corn´s. With that, it is necessary to find alternatives that increase the sorghum grain digestibility to improve its nutritive value. These alternatives include ensiling the grain, using additives during the ensiling, increasing the length of storage, and increasing the humidity (reconstitution). The objectives of this proposal are: i. to evaluate the impact of the additives Lactobacillus buchneri, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus buchneri plus Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus buchneri plus sodium nitrite, or sodium benzoate on the nutritive value of reconstituted sorghum grain silage; ii. To determine the performance of dairy cows fed reconstituted sorghum grain silages treated with Lactobacillus buchneri or sodium benzoate; iii. To evaluate the impact of sodium benzoate and time of storage on the nutritive value of reconstituted sorghum grain silage, and iv. to evaluate de performance of dairy cows fed reconstituted sorghum grain silage treated with sodium benzoate, stored for short or long periods of time. To achieve this goal, four experiments will be carried out at ESALQ/USP, lasting two years of researches. (AU)