P.- Ona Agricultural Research Center -
RC-1972-7 HW ARY
Progress Report on the Use of Pangolgrass Haylage
At Ona Agricultural Research Center (AC) MAY 11 1972
H. L. Chapman, Jr. and E. M.Hodges-
I.F.A.S. Univ. of Florida
During recent years there has been considerable interest in, an research
with, low-moisture hay crop silages that contain 40 to 60% drymatter. These
materials have been called haylage. Research in the midwest and eastern parts
of the United States has indicated that haylage offers the advantage of lower
field and storage losses and more flexibility in time of harvesting than with
hay, because weather would not be as critical and also seepage losses will be
lower than with silage. It has been shown that haylage and good quality hay are
roughly comparable in nutritive value and that haylage will be better nutrition-
ally than weather-beaten hay.
Due to the high moisture content of haylage it is necessary to store the
material in the absence of air. This can be done in conventional upright or
horizontal silos if they are filled properly, or in air tight plastic or metal
containers. Generally speaking, investment in equipment will be higher fr hay-
lage than for hay, but labor costs will be lower. However, this will be
affected by the volume of each which is made. Quite often the cost for haylage
will be about 10% greater than for hay.
The growth pattern of Pangolagrass in south Florida is such that considerable
excess growth is produced during the rainy spring and summer months. During
this period of the year Pangolagrass is also better, nutritionally, than at other
times. However, it is not routinely possible to make hay when the grass is
nutritionally best, due to heavy rainfall at that time of the year. The majority
of Pangolagrass hay is made in the fall after the heavy rains have ended. At
this time Pangolagrass is very mature and relatively low in nutritional quality.
If it were possible to economically harvest and process Pangolagrass during the
summer months it would provide a better quality feed that could be used in
dairy and beef cattle feeding programs.
1/ Animal Nutritionist and Agronomist, respectively, Agricultural Research
Center, Ona, Florida.
Four 21' x 40' experimental air-tight silos have been constructed at the
Ona ARC to obtain information concerning the merits of this type of structure in
south and central Florida. Initial studies have primarily involved Pangolagrass
or a mixture of Pangbla and other grasses. Considerable variation has existed
in the quality of material that has been available for the initial feeding tests.
Equipment used to fill these units included a haybine, a New Holland 818
P.T.O.-driven forage chopper, three self-unloading wagons, a forage blower, one
90 H.P. tractor, one 45 H.P. tractor and one 30-35 H.P. tractor. From 200 to
250 man hours were required to fill a silo, depending on the amount of down-time
and the distance the haylage had to be hauled to the silo. The Pangolagrass
was cut and windrowed with the haybine, then chopped and blown into the wagons
and hauled to the silos. The operation required one man chopping, one hauling
wagons, one unloading into the silo and one working inside the silo.much of the
time keeping the unit operating properly. In addition another part time person
was needed to keep equipment operating, expedite breakdowns, etc.
Several preliminary feeding tests were conducted. Results of these are
shown in Tables 1 through 4. The first study was with slaughter cattle and is
shown in Table 1. Forty crossbred steers were divided into four groups of 10
animals each and fed for 130 days with 10 lb. per head daily of a feed mixture
comprised of dried citrus pulp, corn hominy, 17% dehydrated alfalfa, urea and
a mineral mixture. One group received 10% of raw sugar substituted for hominy.
Two groups received supplemental vitamin E in their feed. Rate of gain was not
significantly affected by the inclusion of 10% sugar or vitamin E in the rations.
There were no significant effects of ration on carcass measurements. In a
second test (Table 2) 48 crossbred heifers were full-fed haylage and given 10 Ibs.
per head daily of a concentrate mixture comprised of citrus pulp, corn hominy
feed, 17% dehydrated alfalfafa, urea, vitamin A and mineral both with and without
BOSPRO- and diethylstilbestrol. The rate of gain was not as good as during
the first experiment. Experimental treatments did not affect carcass measure-
2/ BOSPRO was furnished by Borden Chemical Company, Elgin, Illinois.
A trial has beeniconducted using haylage to winter calves. Calves were fed
haylage free choice'plus 5 1b. of a supplement per head daily. The results of
these tests'are shown in Table 3. As.can be seen from these results, the cattle
that did not receive adequate protein did not grow satisfactorily.
In addition to these four tests -a herd of brood cows was fed in confinement
for approximately three years. The cows were full-fed Pangolagrass haylage and
supplemented with blackstrap molasses and/or dried citrus pulp during the winter.
This study was discontinued because of difficulties of feeding the haylage
during the rainy season without mechanized feeding facilities.
The feeding -value of haylage will depend upon the quality of the crop
harvested. Initial studies at the Ona ARC have involved considerable'tariation
in forage quality, which resulted in varied feeding results. It is essential
to properly evaluate the stored material, so that it may be properly balanced
with other nutrients when fed.
The condition of the Pangolagrass haylage is also important for proper silo
operation. The material should be about 1 inch long for the best loading and
unloading of the silo. Also best results will be obtained with material that
contains 50 to 60% moisture. If the material is too wet or cut too long trouble
will be experienced in filling the silo. If it is too dry or cut too long
trouble will be experienced in unloading the silo.
While not as critical as in making hay, heavy rains during the summer
hampered haylage making by hindering equipment operation and causing variations
in the time necessary to reduce the moisture content of the Pangolagrass
haylage to 50 to 60%. Rains also interfered in the feeding of the haylage
because of mudholes developing both at the silo outlet and where the cattle
were fed. For best results during the rainy season feeding facilities should
be completely mechanized in south and central Florida, and should have an all-
weather surface around the feed trough and silo.!P
Considerable.investment is involved with sealed silos and for these to
become less expensive they must be used continuously. Also, considerable
horsepower is required to properly condition Pangolagrass haylage for storage
and it is possible that other crops may be more desirable for making haylage.
It should be remembered that the feed value of Pangolagrass haylage will be
comparable to good quality Pangolagrass hay and that it will probably be
relatively low in energy.
In summary, if air tight storage facilities are to be economical it is
essential that they be used continuously, preferably be completely mechanized,
will require more machinery investment than for making hay and will need
sufficient planning to keep them filled. If these factors are properly dealt
with air-tight structures can be satisfactorily used in south Florida; if they
are not dealt with the structures will probably prove unsatisfactory.
Average gains and carcass data for steers fed haylage with and without
raw sugar or vitamin E (130 days on test)2/
20 I.U. 50 I.U.
10% Raw Vitamin E/ Vitamin E/
0 sugar head/day head/day
Number of head 12 12 12 12
Initial weight, lb. 700 696 711 716
Final weight, lb. 956 952 961 965
Total gain, lb. 256 256 250 249
Daily gain, lb. 1.97 1.97 1.92 1.92
Dressing % 58.7 57.7 58.1 58.1
Federal grade St- St+ St+ St+
Fat color 2.7 2.3 2.6 3.0
Lean color 4.2 4.0 4.5 3.9
Fat over ribeye (in) 0.16 0.14 0.14 0.17
% Kidney fat 1.8 1.8 2.0 1.7
Est. % yield 52.1 52.1 52.2 52.3
1/ Carcass evaluations were done by Drs. A. 2. Palmer and J.
Meats Laboratory, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Table 2. Average gain and carcass data for cattle fed haylage with and without
diethylstilbestrol (DES) and/or BOSPRO (on test 144 days)/.
BOSPRO + DES 0 DES
Number of head 12 12 12 12
Initial weight, lb. 581 578 579 581
Final weight, lb. 767 769 774 747
Total gain, lb. 186 191 195 166
Daily gain, lb 1.29 1.33 1.35 1.15
Dressing % 58.4 58.1 57.3 57.9
Federal grade St+ St+ St- St
Color of fat 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0
Color of lean 4.1 4.2 4.2 4.5
Fat over ribeye (in) 0.11 0.14 0.12 0.10
% kidney fat 3.0 2.8 3.0 2.9
Est. % yield 52.8 52.7 52.5 53.0
1/ Carcass evaluations were done by Drs. A. Z.Palmer and J. W. Carpenter,
Meats Laboratory, University of Florida,Gainesville.
Table 3. Average gain for heifer calves fed haylage with various supplements
(178 days on test)'/.
Ammon- Vege- Urea Veg.fat,
ium table + Vitamin
0 Urea acetate fat Veg.fat A
Number of head 10 10 10 10 10 10
Initial weight, lb. 466 462 466 468 476 464
Final weight, lb. 503 569 562 484 541 558
Total gain, lb. 37 107 96 16 65 94
Daily gain, lb. 0.21 0.60 0.54 0.09 0.37 0.53
1/ Heifers were fed molasses with experimental treatments mixed in. Cattle did
not perform satisfactorily on the molasses mixtures and the ration was changed
by replacing the molasses with citrus pulp.