Special Issue "Potential Roles of Forage Silage in Sustainable Agricultural Production"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 November 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Vincent Niderkorn
Website
Guest Editor
University Clermont Auvergne, INRAE, VetAgro Sup, UMR Herbivores, St Genes Champanelle, France
Interests: Ruminant Nutrition; Grassland; Forage; Legumes; Bioactive Compounds; Agroecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is an increasing demand worldwide for high‐quality silage providing conserved forage for livestock due to heightened competition for limited arable land. In the context of sustainable agriculture, ensiling forages faces important challenges and offers opportunities to increase farm productivity while reducing environmental impacts. Growing and ensiling legumes can improve protein self-sufficiency throughout the year, soil fertility and forage yields, while decreasing global negative impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity. Technological innovations, including sensors, robotics, and silo packaging, offer opportunities to improve silage quality. Analytical advances in molecular microbiology and metabolomics can allow better controlling the microbial activity in silage and the rumen, leading to enhanced feed efficiency and reduced energy and nitrogenous losses as pollutant emissions (GHG, ammonia) from the silo to the animal. The incorporation of natural bioactive compounds, byproducts or silage additives and inoculants can improve fermentation and aerobic stability and reduce contamination by pathogens and mycotoxins. Fermented forages are now also used as substrates for biogas production and biorefineries.

This Special Issue is intended to provide an insight into forage types, farming practices, and all types of innovations that allow producing safe and high-quality silages while minimizing detrimental impacts on the environment throughout the agricultural production chain.

Dr. Vincent Niderkorn
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • fermentation;
  • GHG emissions;
  • legumes;
  • bioactive compounds;
  • byproducts;
  • silage additives;
  • aerobic stability;
  • silage microbiology;
  • mycotoxins;
  • biogas;

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Using Lactic Acid Bacteria as Silage Inoculants or Direct-Fed Microbials to Improve In Vitro Degradability and Reduce Methane Emissions in Dairy Cows
Agronomy 2020, 10(10), 1482; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10101482 - 27 Sep 2020
Abstract
The current study has two objectives: (1) To determine the effect of different lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains’ inoculant on silage quality of fresh ryegrass (FR) and rain-treated ryegrass (RTR), and (2) to find the optimal way (silage inoculant vs. direct-fed microbial (DFM)) [...] Read more.
The current study has two objectives: (1) To determine the effect of different lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains’ inoculant on silage quality of fresh ryegrass (FR) and rain-treated ryegrass (RTR), and (2) to find the optimal way (silage inoculant vs. direct-fed microbial (DFM)) to use LAB strains in order to improve nutrient digestibility and reduce methane emission (CH4) in ruminant production. Five LAB strains were tested, Lactiplantibacillus plantarum AGR-1, L. plantarum AGR-2, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar diacetylactis AGR-3, L. lactis subsp. lactis AGR-4 and L. lactis subsp. lactis AGR-5. Each LAB strain was inoculated at 106 cfu/g fresh weight into the FR and the RTR and ensiled for 60 days. After ensiling, the effect of LAB strains included as a DFM or silage inoculant on rumen digestibility and CH4 production were measured using an in vitro gas production system with three separate runs. The in vitro experiment consisted of 24 treatments (2 grasses (FR and RTR) × 2 ways (inoculant or DFM) × 6 strains (5 LAB strains + 1 Control)). The results indicated that the LAB strains’ inoculant treatments reduced (p < 0.0001) the dry matter (DM) losses, the NH3 concentration (p < 0.0001) and the pH (p = 0.0019) upon ensiling in both the FR and the RTR. The lowest values in dry matter (DM) loss and NH3 concentration were found in the L. plantarum (AGR-2) and L. lactis (AGR-5). The in vitro CH4 production was lower for silages inoculated with L. plantarum (AGR-1, p = 0.0054), L. lactis (AGR-4, p = 0.026), L. lactis (AGR-5, p = 0.029) and L. plantarum (AGR-2, p = 0.090), compared to the control. Methane production was lower (p = 0.0027) for LABs when used as silage inoculants, compared to being used as DFM. Lactic acid bacteria used as silage inoculants increased (p ≤ 0.0001) the in vitro DM and organic matter (OM) degradability both in the FR and the RTR, whereas LAB strains used as DFM showed no such effect. The DM and OM digestibility were highest in the L. plantarum (AGR-1, p = 0.0175). Among the five LAB strains used in the current study, L. plantarum (AGR-2) was the best candidate to improve silage quality. Our observations suggest that these LAB strains are most promising when used as silage inoculants and to be confirmed in vivo. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Additive Type Affects Fermentation, Aerobic Stability and Mycotoxin Formation during Air Exposure of Early-Cut Rye (Secale cereale L.) Silage
Agronomy 2020, 10(9), 1432; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10091432 - 21 Sep 2020
Abstract
Whole-crop rye harvested before maturity represents a valuable forage for silage production. Due to the scarcity of data on fermentation characteristics and aerobic stability (ASTA) and the lack of information on mycotoxin formation during aeration of early-cut rye (ECR) silage after silo opening, [...] Read more.
Whole-crop rye harvested before maturity represents a valuable forage for silage production. Due to the scarcity of data on fermentation characteristics and aerobic stability (ASTA) and the lack of information on mycotoxin formation during aeration of early-cut rye (ECR) silage after silo opening, we evaluated the effects of different additive types and compositions. Wilted forage was treated with various biological and chemical additives, ensiled in 1.5-L glass jars and stored for 64 days. Fermentation pattern, yeast and mould counts and ASTA were determined at silo opening. In total 34 mycotoxins were analysed in wilted forage and in silage before and after 240 h of air exposure. Chemical additives caused the lowest dry matter (DM) losses during fermentation accompanied with the lowest ethanol production and the highest water-soluble carbohydrate concentration. Aerobic deterioration, which started within two days after silo opening in silage left untreated and inoculated with homofermentative lactic acid bacteria, was prevented by the combined use of hetero- and homofermentative lactic acid bacteria and the chemical additive containing sodium nitrite, hexamethylene tetramine and potassium sorbate. Moreover, these two additives largely restricted the formation of the mycotoxin roquefortine C to < 0.05 mg kg−1 DM after aeration, whereas untreated silage contained 85.2 mg kg−1 DM. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Additive Type on Fermentation and Aerobic Stability and Its Interaction with Air Exposure on Silage Nutritive Value
Agronomy 2020, 10(9), 1229; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10091229 - 20 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
As farm profitability and sustainability of animal production are largely affected by overall losses of dry matter and nutritive value of silage from field to trough, the objective of the study was to assess the effects of different additive types on fermentation, aerobic [...] Read more.
As farm profitability and sustainability of animal production are largely affected by overall losses of dry matter and nutritive value of silage from field to trough, the objective of the study was to assess the effects of different additive types on fermentation, aerobic stability (ASTA) and changes in in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD) and metabolisable energy (ME) of grass and grass–clover silage exposed to air. Three trials were performed, where grass and grass–clover forages were treated with biological and chemical additives and ensiled in 1.6-L glass jars. Upon silo opening, fermentation characteristics, yeast counts and ASTA were determined as well as changes in IVOMD and ME during subsequent air exposure for up to 336 h. All silages were well preserved. The ASTA was improved by Lactobacillus buchneri-containing additives in all trials and by chemical additives in trial 3. In untreated silage, aeration reduced IVOMD and ME but variable effects of additives were observed. The nutritive value was maintained throughout aeration by all additives in trial 1, whereas in trial 3, only chemical additives were successful. A strong negative linear relationship across trials was detected between the extent of aerobic deterioration and changes in ME during air exposure (r = −0.756, p < 0.001). Silage additives improving aerobic stability have the potential to prevent the loss of nutritive value of grass and grass–clover silage during feed-out. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Ensiling Total Mixed Ration for Ruminants: A Review
Agronomy 2020, 10(6), 879; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10060879 - 19 Jun 2020
Abstract
The interest of ensiling total mixed rations (TMR) for ruminants reemerged in the last decades. In many situations, ensiling TMR has been a sustainable alternative to efficiently handle wet byproducts in ruminant diets. An ensiled TMR typically has a markedly higher aerobic stability [...] Read more.
The interest of ensiling total mixed rations (TMR) for ruminants reemerged in the last decades. In many situations, ensiling TMR has been a sustainable alternative to efficiently handle wet byproducts in ruminant diets. An ensiled TMR typically has a markedly higher aerobic stability than its respective fresh TMR. Ensiling a TMR increases ruminal protein degradability due to proteolysis during storage. An increase of feed efficiency by ruminants fed ensiled rations have been reported, due to the improved starch digestibility in TMR silages containing cereal grains. This manuscript brings an overview of the main nutrient transformations during the ensiling of TMR and their feeding value for ruminants. Full article

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Multiple opportunities offered by natural bioactive compounds to improve silage quality increasing sustainability of ruminant production: a review
Authors: Vincent Niderkorn
Affiliation: Université Clermont Auvergne, INRAE, VetAgro Sup, UMR Herbivores, F-63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France
Abstract: The presence in some plants of bioactive compounds such (e.g phenolic ones) can impact silage quality with multiple consequences on the different pillars of sustainability for ruminant production systems. The aim of this paper is to review the multiple opportunities opened up by these compounds to improve: i) silage lactic fermentation and protection of plant protein to increase nutriment use efficiency and decrease pollutant losses under the form of greenhouse gases and ammonia, ii) animal health (e.g. digestive diseases) , and iii) product quality, for example through fatty acid profiles in meat and milk or increased oxidative stability. An identification of research gaps and research needed for a better practical application will be also proposed.

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