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Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Nutritive value, in vitro fermentation and methane production of perennial pastures as affected by botanical composition over a growing season in the south of Chile

J. P. Keim A B E , I. F. López A and R. Berthiaume C D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Animal Production Institute, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Universidad Austral de Chile, Independencia 641, Valdivia, Chile.

B Graduate School, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Universidad Austral de Chile, Independencia 641, Valdivia, Chile.

C Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre, Sherbrooke, Québec J1M 0C8, Canada.

D Current affiliation: Dairy production expert in forage systems, Valacta, 555 Blvd des anciens-combattants, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC H9X 3R4, Canada.

E Corresponding author. Email: juan.keim@uach.cl

Animal Production Science 54(5) 598-607 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN13026
Submitted: 24 January 2013  Accepted: 21 May 2013   Published: 20 June 2013

Abstract

Permanent pastures have been shown to produce similar herbage masses and nutrient contents to perennial ryegrass pastures. To the best of our knowledge, little research has been conducted on the ruminal fermentation of permanent pastures. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of botanical composition of four perennial pastures during a growing season in the south of Chile [winter, September 2010 ‘S1’; spring, November 2010 ‘S2’; and summer, January 2011 ‘S3’]: on in vitro fermentation products using a batch culture system. The perennial pastures studied included: permanent (PP), permanent fertilised (PFP) and renovated pastures (Lolium perenne and Trifolium repens pasture ‘RGWC’; Bromus valdivianus, Dactylis glomerata, Holcus lanatus, L. perenne and T. repensMIXED’). There were strong interactions between pasture type and regrowth period for true organic matter, nitrogen (N) and neutral detergent fibre digestibility; total gas and volatile fatty acid (VFA) production; ammonia and microbial N. In general, all pasture treatments showed a high true organic matter digestibility (>800 g/kg), and tended to decrease in S3. In vitro fermentation of PFP and RGWC produced the highest total VFA concentration during S1 and S2, and no differences among pastures were observed in summer. Propionate proportion of total VFA was affected by pasture type and regrowth period, being higher for RGWC and S1, respectively. In vitro microbial N was higher for MIXED in S1, and PFP in S2 and S3. No pasture and regrowth period effects were observed for methane production and its proportion of total gas production. These results indicate that the in vitro fermentation products of a permanent fertilised pasture reach similar levels to those obtained from a sown pasture, and thus may be considered as a sustainable alternative for grazing livestock systems.

Additional keywords: gas production, nitrogen metabolism, permanent pasture, volatile fatty acids.


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