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Ciencia e investigación agraria

versión On-line ISSN 0718-1620

Cienc. Inv. Agr. vol.41 no.2 Santiago  2014

http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-16202014000200003 

ANIMAL PRODUCTION / RESEARCH PAPER

 

Dry matter production, chemical composition, dry matter digestibility and occurrence of fungi in Bermuda grass hay (Cynodon dactylon) under different fertilization systems or associated with pea plantings in winter

Producción de materia seca, composición química, digestibilidad de la materia seca y la aparición de hongos en heno de pasto Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon) bajo diferentes sistemas de fertilización o asociado con leguminosa anual de invierno

 

João Paulo Ames1, Marcela Abbado Neres1, Deise Dalazen Castagnara2, Liziane Maciel Mufatto1, Camila Ducati1, Cloves Cabrera Jobim3, and Tamara Taís Tres3

1 State University of West Parana - Unioeste/CCA/PPZ, Zootecny, Marechal Candido Rondon, Pernambuco Street, 1777, Zip Code 85960-000, Parana, Brazil.
2
Federal University of Pampa - Unipampa/Veterinary Medicine, Uruguaiana, BR 472, KM 592, Zip Code
97500-970, Rio Grande of Sul, Brazil.
3
State University of Maringa -UEM/PPZ, Zootecny, Maringa, Colombo Street, 1790, Zip Code 87020-900,
Parana, Brazil.
Corresponding author: deisecastagnara@yahoo.com.br


Abstract

J.P. Ames, M.A. Neres, D.D. Castagnara, L.M. Mufatto, C. Ducati, C.C. Jobim, and T.T. Tres. 2014. Dry matter production, chemical composition, dry matter digestibility and occurrence of fungi in Bermuda grass hay (Cynodon dactylon) under different fertilization systems or associated with pea plantings in winter. Cien. Inv. Agr. 41(2): 163-174. This study aimed to evaluate the structural characteristics, dehydration curve, DM production, chemical composition, in vitro dry matter digestibility and occurrence of fungi in Bermuda grass hay (Cynodon dactylon cv. 'Bermuda grass', Tifton 85) produced in winter under different forms of fertilization or in association with a winter annual legume. The experimental design used was a randomized block with split plots in time and with four treatments: Bermuda grass without fertilization or intercropping, Bermuda grass with nitrogen (N) chemical fertilizer (100 kg N ha-'year-1), Bermuda grass oversown with forage pea (Pisum arvense cv. 'Iapar 83'), and Bermuda grass with the addition of 70 m3 ha-1 swine slurry. Three evaluation periods (cutting, baling and 30 days of storage) and five replicates were used. The DM yield of Bermuda grass without N was 2607 kg ha-1. The use of swine slurry increased the DM yield of Bermuda grass more than the use of the N chemical fertilizer (4864 and 3551 kg ha-1, respectively). In association with forage pea, a high total DM yield was obtained: 4261 kg ha-1 of pea and 2171 kg ha-1 of Bermuda grass. The dehydration time and final crude protein content of the Bermuda grass were higher in association with the legume. The levels of acid detergent-insoluble protein increased with storage. The in vitro DM digestibility reduced the cut to 30 days of storage in treatments with Bermuda grass without association with the legume. A higher occurrence of fungi occurred after 30 days of storage, with Penicillium generally predominant; however, Phoma was predominant in the hay produced from Bermuda grass grown with no N supplementation.

Key words: Association with legume, fungal contamination, grass, swine manure.


Resumen

J.P. Ames, M.A. Neres, D.D. Castagnara, L.M. Mufatto, C. Ducati, C.C. Jobim y T.T. Tres. 2014. Producción de materia seca, composición química, digestibilidad de la materia seca y la aparición de hongos en heno de pasto Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon) bajo diferentes sistemas de fertilización o asociado con leguminosa anual de invierno. Cien. Inv. Agr. 41(2): 163-174. Este estudio tuvo como objetivo la evaluación de la curva de características estructurales, la deshidratación, la materia seca (MS), la composición química, digestibilidad in vitro de la MS y la aparición de hongos en heno de pasto Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon, cv. 'Tifton 85'), producido en invierno, bajo diferentes formas de fertilización o en asociación con una leguminosa anual de invierno. El diseño experimental utilizado fue de bloques al azar con parcelas divididas en el tiempo con cuatro tratamientos: Pasto Bermuda sin fertilización o consorcio, pasto Bermuda con fertilizante químico de nitrógeno (100 kg N ha- 1 año -1), pasto Bermuda en asociación con el legume (Pisium avarse 'Iapar 83'), y pasto Bermuda con la adición de 70 m3 de purines ha-1 durante tres periodos de evaluación (de corte, de balas y 30 días de almacenamiento), con cinco repeticiones. El rendimiento de MS de pasto Bermuda sin nitrógeno fue 2.607 kg ha-1. El uso de purines porcinos aumentó el rendimiento de MS de pasto Bermuda más que el uso del nitrógeno fertilizante químico (4864 y 3551 kg ha-1, respectivamente). Su asociación con la leguminosa, de alto rendimiento de MS total, obtuvo: 4.261 kg ha-1 de guisantes y 2.171 kg ha-1 de pasto Bermuda. El tiempo de deshidratación y de proteína cruda total del heno de pasto Bermuda fueron más altos en asociación con leguminosas. Los niveles de la proteína insoluble en detergente ácido aumentaron con el almacenamiento y la digestibilidad de la MS in vitro, reduciendo el corte a los 30 días de almacenamiento en los tratamientos con pasto Bermuda y sin asociación con leguminosas. La mayor incidencia de los hongos se produjo después de 30 días de almacenamiento, con un predominio de Penicillium, excepto en el heno de pasto Bermuda, en ausencia de nitrógeno, donde el género predominante fue Phoma.

Palabras clave: Henificación, purines de porcino, contaminación fúngica, asociación con leguminosa.


 

Introduction

Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon cv. 'Bermuda grass') is widely used in Brazil's livestock industry as a pasture plant and for hay production. In certain regions favorable for the production of hay from Bermuda grass, farmers have specialized in the production and marketing of the hay, creating a new source of income for their property.

However, the increasing scale of hay production may imply a need for the replenishment of nutrients contained in the soil and for the maintenance of the soil conditions necessary for proper plant development.

Chemical fertilizers are rarely used in pastures in Brazil due to their high cost. However, organic fertilization (based on the use of animal waste) and intercropping with legumes have been used successfully in pasture production systems (Drumond et al., 2006, Camargo et al., 2011; Neres et al., 2012).

To maintain proper soil conditions, growers determine the level of soil moisture before they operate machinery in agricultural fields. Some growers also oversow other species, especially during the winter. Oversowing improves the quality of the hay produced (Drumond et al., 2006, Camargo et al., 2011). The use of a winter annual legume for oversowing may contribute to increase the production of dry matter and biological nitrogen (N) fixation in addition to increasing the crude protein (CP) content of the hay produced.

In this study, an experiment was performed to compare the influences of various production systems for Bermuda grass hay in winter on dry matter production, the dehydration curve, structural characteristics, nutrient content and occurrence of fungi. C. dactylon cv. 'Bermuda grass' (Tifton 85) was raised alone, with N chemical fertilizer, with swine manure and no N, and oversown with forage pea ("pea"), Pisum arvense cv. 'Iapar 83' for intercropping.

Materials and methods

The experiment was conducted in a field designated for hay production at 24°33 '40'' S, 54°04' 12'' W and an altitude of 420 m. After the planting of winter forage (May 10, 2011) by oversowing, the weather was unfavorable for germination. Accordingly, the experimental area was irrigated from a tank truck. A total of 15 mm of water was applied. A frost on July 5 and 6, 2011 did not harm the studied winter crops. Although temporary losses of Bermuda grass occurred due to leaf chlorosis, rapid regrowth from rhizomes followed. The weather was favorable for drying the plants. The mean temperature was 16°C, the relative humidity was 45%, and the solar radiation was 22,663 KJ m-2.

The soil of the experimental area is classified as Oxisol (EMBRAPA, 2006) and has the following chemical characteristics: pH CaCl2: 5.10, P (Mehlich): 21.08 mg dm-3, K (Mehlich): 0.68 cmolc dm-3, Ca2+ (KCl 1 mol L-1): 6.21 cmolc dm-3, Mg2+ (KCl 1 mol L-1): 2.22 cmolc dm-3, Al3+ (KCl 1 mol L-1): 0.00 cmolc dm-3, H+Al (ethyl 0.5 mol L-1): 3.97 cmolc dm-3, SB: 9.11 cmolc dm-3, CTC: 13.08 cmolc dm-3, V: 69 65%, organic matter (Boyocus method): 25.97 g dm-3, Cu: 14.70 mg dm-3, Zn: 10.40 mg dm-3, Mn: 181.00 mg dm-3, Fe: 23.20 mg dm-3. The experiment was conducted in a field of C. dactylon cv. 'Bermuda grass' in production for six years and with an area of 4.0 ha. The field is used only for hay production for the market and regularly receives an application of 500 m3 ha- 1 year- 1 of swine slurry. The analysis of the manure showed the following results: N (flame AAS method, Kjeldahl): 1.75 g kg-1, P: 0.06 g kg-1, K: 0.10 g kg-1, Ca: 3.30 g kg-1, Mg: 1.00 g kg-1, Cu: 1.00 mg kg-1, Fe: 2.00 mg kg-1, Mn - ND (not detected), Zn: 2.00 mg kg-1. Nitric-perchloric digestion (AOAC, 2005) was used for the determination of other nutrients. Readings were made with an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (EAA) in flame mode (Welz and Sperling, 1999).

The experiment followed a randomized blocks design with split plots over time. Four treatments and five replicates were used in the experiment. The dehydration curve and chemical composition were measured. The experimental treatments were as follows: Bermuda grass without N, Bermuda grass with N applied as urea (100 kg ha-1 N), Bermuda grass oversown with forage pea (P. arvense Iapar 83), and Bermuda grass with application of liquid swine slurry (70 m3 ha-1), equivalent to 112.5 g kg-1 of N.

Sowing of winter forage was performed on May 10, 2011 immediately after cutting the Bermuda grass for haymaking at a height of 5 cm. A total of 60 kg ha-1 pea seed was used. The sowing used a tractor precision seeder for tillage, and a spacing of 0.17 m was left between rows. The width of the plots corresponded to four passes of the tractor (each 2.38 m wide). Each plot was 9.52 m wide and 30 m long. Plant germination occurred between June 6 and June 8. Pig slurry and urea were applied on June 25 according to the treatment plan. The dosages used were 100 kg ha-1 of N as urea (45% N) and 70 m3 ha-1 liquid swine manure.

Before harvest, structural features of the grass crop were evaluated. The canopy height was measured at 10 points in each plot with the aid of a 100 cm graduated scale. Twenty tillers were taken to determine stem diameter. A caliper positioned before the first node in these tillers was used to mensure stem diameter. Was held manual count the total leaves, green leaves and dead leaves and manual separation and drying were used to determine the leaf/stem ratio. Ten 50 g samples were collected and separated into leaves and stems, which were placed in paper bags and dried at 55°C for 72 h in an oven with forced ventilation.

The leaf/stem ratio (F/C) was calculated as the ratio of the dry weight of the leaves to the dry weight of the stems. The cutting of forage was performed on August 31 (111 days of growth) at 11:00 am after drying the plants with a tractor mower-conditioner fitted with nylon-free fingers for plant mechanical conditioning (folding) at 5 cm above the soil. After cutting and mechanical conditioning, the forage remained exposed to the sun in the field to allow wilting.

The baling of the crop produced in the treatments consisting exclusively of monocultured Bermuda grass occurred on September 1 at 15:00 (30 h after cutting). The baling of the crop consisting of peas associated with Bermuda grass occurred on September 2 at 17:00 (54 h after cutting) due to the higher moisture content and the longer drying period required. The plants harvested from all treatments were processed by forming rectangular bales with a mean weight of 10 kg.

To obtain a dehydration curve, the following days and dehydration times were sampled: 1st day (cutting): (0 h sample) 11:00, (6 h) 17:00; 2nd day: (21 h) 08:00, (25 h) 12:00, (30 h) 17:00; 3rd day: (45 h) 08:00, (49 h) 12:00, (54 h) 17:00.

Samples of approximately 300 g were collected in each plot for the determination of the dehydration curves. The samples were packed in paper bags and dried in an oven with forced-air circulation at 65°C for the determination of dry matter.

For storage, the hay was housed in a well-ventilated masonry shed with a clay tile roof and a concrete floor. The hay bales were arranged on wooden pallets in stacks 10 cm from the floor. At the time of sampling, samples were collected for determination of dry matter and subsequent chemical analysis, in vitro digestibility determination of dry matter and fungal examination. After drying, the samples were ground in a Wiley-type mill equipped with a 1 mm sieve and subjected to laboratory procedures for determination of crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent insoluble protein (NDIP), acid detergent insoluble protein (ADIP), lignin (LAS), hemicellulose and cellulose according to Silva and Queiroz (2009). The in vitro digestibility of dry matter was determined using the method of Tilley and Terry (1963) with modifications defined by Holden (1999) for the artificial rumen.

Fungi were isolated by culturing mycelium on PDA culture medium (200 g potato, 20 g dextrose, 15 g agar and 1,000 mL distilled water). Dilutions ranged from 101 to 105. Following incubation for 7 days at ambient temperature, the colonies were counted using a Quebec colony counter. Was counted Petri dishes whose fungal counts ranged from 30 to 300 CFU (Colony Forming Units). The results of this assay were considered at the 101 dilution and expressed in log CFU g-1.

Genera were identified by induced sporulation or by direct isolation of signals (reproductive structures) of the pathogen from the samples collected (Fernandez, 1993; Menezes and Silva-Hanlin, 1997). Semi-permanent slides of all fungal structures found with both identification procedures and during cultivation were prepared. Observations were made using a stereoscopic microscope or magnifying glass. These structures were transferred to the microscope slides using a needle or knife blade. The material to be examined on the microscope slides was stained with lactophenol cotton blue stain, covered with glass coverslips, sealed with varnish and observed with an optical microscope to identify the fungi with the help of specific identification keys (Barnett and Hunter, 1987; Carmichael et al, 1980; Samson et al, 1995; Guarro et al, 1999).

The room temperature was monitored during the period of hay storage. The temperature (°C) of the bales was monitored at three points selected in each bale. Five bales per treatment were monitored. A skewer-type thermometer was used for the temperature measurements.

The data were subjected to an analysis of variance. For those analyses with a significant F test, the dry matter content throughout the period of dehydration was studied with a regression analysis. A regression model was selected based on a minimum significance of 5% (t test) and a maximum coefficient of determination (R2). The structural characteristics, dry matter yield and nutritional value were compared using a Tukey test at a significance level of 5%. The occurrence of fungi by genus was recorded based on the results of descriptive analyses.

Results and discussion

The Bermuda grass grown without N had a low level of dry matter production (Table 1). The level of dry matter production of Bermuda grass intercropped with pea was less than that of Bermuda grass grown without N. These results indicate that the association with pea resulted in the suppression of the growth of the Bermuda grass. The total dry matter production for the intercropping treatment was 6430.01 kg ha-1, or 4261.41 g kg-1.

 

Table 1. Dry matter production and structural characteristics of Bermuda grass and forage pea before cutting.

 
 
Means in the same column followed by the same letter do not differ (Tukey test, 5% significance level). B without N = Bermuda grass without N fertilizer application, B with N = Bermuda grass with application of N fertilizer, B+P = forage pea intercropped with Bermuda grass, B + SM = Bermuda grass with application of swine manure.

 

A similar suppressive effect on Bermuda grass in association with other crops was observed by Neres et al. (2011). In that study, the dry matter production of Bermuda grass grown without intercropping (3206.04 kg ha-1) was greater than the dry matter production of Bermuda grass grown with oversowing of white oats (1105.28 kg ha-1) and ryegrass (1636.96 kg ha-1). Of the Bermuda grass treatments without legume intercropping, the greatest dry matter production was observed in the swine manure treatment (4863.80 kg ha-1 cutting). This increase was favored by the addition of water and nutrients, especially in May when the precipitation rate was low. Castagnara et al. (2012) found a total dry matter production of 4120.63 kg ha-1 in Bermuda grass in September (42 days of growth). The grass was treated with chemical fertilizer and experienced high rainfall. The height of the Bermuda grass was greatest with the manure application (P≤0.05), followed by the Bermuda grass in association with pea. An explanation of this difference is that the competition between species favored the stem elongation of the grass (Table 1). The height of the Bermuda grass without N was 11.40 mm, a significant difference from the height found in the other treatments (P≤0.05).

The leaf/stem ratio for Bermuda grass without N and Bermuda grass with manure application differed significantly (P≤0.05), with values of 1.00 and 0.97, respectively (Table 1). Castagnara et al. (2011) found a similar value (0.95) for Bermuda grass. No difference in the stem diameter of Bermuda grass was found among treatments (P>0.05). The average stem diameter was 1.44 mm.

Forage legumes shed leaves at a higher rate during drying. To prevent the leaves fall, the material should not be turned frequently. However, the pea had a higher leaf/stem ratio at the end of the dehydration period. Leaf shedding was not observed in this species (Table 2). Neres et al. (2010) have found a decreased leaf/stem ratio in alfalfa plants during dehydration as a result of turning, from an initial value of 0.91 to a value of 0.73 after 45 h of drying and two turns.

 

Table 2. Leaf/stem ratio of forage pea by drying time.

 
 

Means in the same column followed by the same letter do not differ (Tukey test, 5% significance level).

 

The dehydration curves of Bermuda grass showed significant effects of dehydration times and treatments (Figure 1). Of the models tested, the linear model provided the best fit to the data on dehydration as a function of time. Throughout the dehydration period, the highest content of dry matter was observed in monocropped Bermuda grass (Table 1). This finding was expected because the pea had a high moisture content at the time of cutting, resulting in a lower amount of dry matter for Bermuda grass grown in association with pea (226.7 g kg-1 Table 3).

 

 
Figure 1. Dry matter (Ŷ) of Bermuda grass hay grown without N (), Bermuda grass with application of N fertilizer (), Bermuda grass with application of swine manure () and Bermuda grass intercropped with forage pea () as a function of the drying time.

 

Table 3. Chemical composition of Bermuda grass at the time of cutting, baling and after 30 days of storage.
 
 

Means in the same column followed by the same letter and in the same row followed by the same upper-case letter do not differ (Tukey test, 5% significance level). B without N = Bermuda grass without fertilizer application, B with N = Bermuda grass with application of N fertilizer, B + P = total production of the intercropped Bermuda grass + pea, B + SM = Bermuda grass with application of swine manure.

 

The Bermuda grass grown in association with pea required a longer period of drying (54 h) to achieve a dry matter content of 838.3 g kg-1. Turning was not applied during drying. Dry matter values of 699.1 g kg-1 after 45 h, 782.5 g kg-1 after 49 h and 838.3g kg-1 after 54 h were obtained for the Bermuda grass grown in association with pea. Note that the Bermuda grass grown in monoculture was baled at 30 h after cutting, whereas the Bermuda grass grown in association with pea was baled at 54 h after cutting. The drying time obtained for the Bermuda grass grown with pea was relatively brief and resulted from the use of the mower conditioner. The operation of the mower conditioner caused damage to the plant stems that accelerated the dehydration process at the stem diameters of 2.59 mm (peas) and 1.44 mm (Bermuda grass) observed at the time of cutting.

Calixto Junior et al. (2007) determined a stem diameter of 1.98 mm for star grass. Those authors emphasized that the thickness of the stem can negatively influence the drying rate. In the Bermuda grass grown without N, the greater content of dry matter was due to the higher proportion of senescent leaves (Table 4) observed at cutting (Bermuda grass without N 427.5 g kg-1, Bermuda grass with N 391.4 g kg-1, Bermuda grass with swine manure 350.7 g kg-1, Bermuda grass intercropped with pea (note the effect of the absence of dead leaves) 226.7 g kg-1). A linear regression model furnished a satisfactory fit to the dry matter values (Figure 1).

 

Table 4. Green leaves per tiller, dead leaves and total leaves measured for Bermuda grass at cutting.

 
 
Means in the same column followed by the same letter do not differ (Tukey test, 5% significance level). B without N = Bermuda grass without fertilizer application, B with N = Bermuda grass with application of N fertilizer, B + P = total production of the intercropped Bermuda grass + pea, B + SM = Bermuda grass with application of swine manure.

 

The level of DM varied after 30 days of storage (Table 3) due to changes in climatic conditions. As the hay was hygroscopic, the higher level of relative humidity during storage caused the DM content of the hay to decrease, consistent with previous results (Neres et al., 2011; Castagnara et al., 2012).

Crude protein at cutting (Table 3) ranged from 82.2 to 161.8 g kg-1 among treatments. The highest value was obtained for the association of Bermuda grass with pea, followed by Bermuda grass with the application of manure. These values increased after 30 days of storage. Nascimento et al. (2000) showed that the level of CP in sun-dried alfalfa hay increased from 162.2 g kg-1 to 185.0 g kg-1 after 60 days of storage. Hancock and Collins (2006) studied the storage of alfalfa hay and found no changes in the CP level.

The NDF value at cutting was relatively high in Bermuda grass grown with and without N fertilization (876.0 and 895.2 g kg-1, respectively) and lower in Bermuda grass that received an application of swine manure. In baling and storage, these levels decreased in Bermuda grass with or without N (P≤0.05). Differences in NDF between the hay grown with application of manure and grown in association with pea were not observed. Castagnara et al. (2011) also showed a decrease in NDF in Bermuda grass hay in storage from 86.00 g kg-1 at cutting to 80.63 g kg-1 after 30 days of storage. In Bermuda grass hay with and without chemical N fertilization, the greater decrease in NDF values may be a result of the shedding of dead leaves, which were present in these treatments (Table 4). The manipulation of the plants during cutting, raking and baling result in the loss of leaves. The numbers of leaves, including the number of dead leaves, differed among treatments (Table 4) (P>0.05). The NDF value for Bermuda grass in association with pea was 787.1 g kg-1 after 30 days of storage (Table 5).

 

Table 5. Dry matter in vitro digestibility (g kg-1) of Bermuda grass at cutting and after 30 days of storage

 
 

Means in the same column followed by the same letter and in the same row followed by the same upper-case letter do not differ (Tukey test, 5% significance level). B without N = Bermuda grass without fertilizer application, B with N = Bermuda grass with application of N fertilizer, B + P = total production of the intercropped Bermuda grass + pea, B + SM = Bermuda grass with application of swine manure.

 

The ADF values did not differ among treatments at the time of cutting or at the time of baling. Differences among treatments in ADF were found only in storage, with higher values for Bermuda grass in association with pea. Calixto Junior et al. (2007) found an ADF content of 428 g kg-1 in star grass at the time of cutting. Hancock and Collins (2006) observed an increase in the content of NDF and ADF in alfalfa hay after storage. According to Buckmaster et al. (1989), changes in the fibrous components of hay are due to losses of dry matter that occur naturally during storage.

The cellulose content was high and did not differ among treatments at cutting and baling. According to Van Soest (1994), cellulose is a major constituent of the cell wall, and the cellulose content of plants can vary from 20 to 40%. The high values observed in the current study were a result of the length of the growth period used in the experiments. In storage, the cellulose content decreased in the treatments with and without N and increased in the other treatments.

The hemicellulose content at cutting and baling and in storage was lowest for Bermuda grass in association with pea. In storage, the hemicellulose content increased for Bermuda grass grown without N. At cutting, the lignin content was higher in Bermuda grass with or without N (P≤0.05), an average of 154.4 g kg-1 compared with the other treatments (119.2 g kg-1). Castagnara et al. (2011) found a lignin content of 85.2 g kg-1 in Tifton 85 Bermuda grass hay after 42 days of growth during the summer. At baling, no differences in lignin content were found among treatments. In storage, the values of lignin content were higher in Bermuda grass with and without N than in the other treatments.

The potential availability of N compounds in food has received particular attention in tropical conditions due to the strong association of N compounds with the organic matrix of the plant cell wall. This association hampers the access of rumen microorganisms to N (Henriques et al, 2007).

The content of NDIP was higher in Bermuda grass in association with pea but decreased in storage, where there was no difference between crops. In the other treatments, the values were lower at cutting and baling than during storage.

The content of ADIP was relatively low in Bermuda grass associated with pea and did not vary over time. The content of ADIP increased in Bermuda grass monoculture from cutting to baling. According to Boucher et al. (2009), ADIP corresponds to a fraction of protein that is not degraded in the rumen and that is indigestible by the intestines. The baling of Bermuda grass + pea in association with higher levels of moisture during storage could potentially contribute to elevated ADIP, but it did not. The in vitro digestibility of dry matter of Bermuda grass (Table 5) at cutting ranged from 526.0 g kg-1 in Bermuda grass without N to 387.0 g kg-1 in Bermuda grass intercropped with pea. This variation may be related to the increased proportion of stems contributed by the legume. The Bermuda grass grown in association with pea showed a smaller decrease than the other treatments in the in vitro digestibility of DM after storage. After storage, the in vitro digestibility of DM decreased for the other treatments, ranging from 325.0 g kg-1 in the Bermuda grass with an application of swine manure to 41.50 g kg-1 in the Bermuda grass grown without N.

The temperature of the bales and the environment inside the shed were monitored during storage (Figure 2). Due to their higher moisture at baling time, the bales of Bermuda grass grown in association with pea had a greater temperature until the 14th day after storage. The temperatures of the bales subsequently followed the room temperature.

 

 

Figure 2. Values of room temperature inside the storage shed and temperatures of hay bales of Bermuda grass under different types of cultivation.

 

Temperature increases in hay are due to contact with oxygen and the reactions that result. Hancock and Collins (2006) protected bales of alfalfa hay with plastic film to reduce their contact with oxygen and observed a decrease in temperature in the packaged hay. This result suggested that the presence of oxygen contributes to the temperature increase observed in hay under the traditional conditions of storage in contact with the air.

Note that the observed increases in temperature did not result in increased amounts of fungi (Figure 3) or in increased levels of ADIP (Table 3). The Maillard reaction (Henriques et al., 2007) occurs when the humidity is high, and it results in temperatures exceeding 55 °C. These conditions induce non-enzymatic reactions between soluble carbohydrates and amino groups of amino acids, with a resulting decrease in protein digestibility. The ADIP level may indicate the fraction of N compounds that are not degradable in the rumen. The maximum temperature reached was 36°C, on day 8 after storage.

 

 

Figure 3. Total count of fungi (Log CFU g-1) after 30 days of hay storage.

 

Fungi occurred at a low level in Bermuda grass before cutting, with values less than 30 CFU g-1. Statistical analyses of the level of fungi were not performed before cutting. The same species were present before cutting and in the stored hay, i.e., Phoma, Penicillium, Cladosporium, Diplococcium, and Fusarium. Aspergillus was not observed After hay storage, there were no quantitative differences (P>0.05) between the treatments (Figure 3) in the occurrence of fungi. Fungi tended to increase in the Bermuda grass with N application. The genera of fungi observed in this phase of the study were Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Cladosporium, Phoma and Diplococcium. Note that despite the higher moisture at baling (798.3 g kg-1) in the Bermuda grass grown in association with pea, the total count of fungi did not increase as much as that in the other treatments.

According to Reis et al. (1997), the increase in fungi of the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium in storage is related to the moisture content of the hay. Fungi such as Aspergillus that are associated with storage can serve as a biological indicator of the storage conditions. The quantification of Aspergillus in conserved forage is critical to detect a source of mycotoxins. This fungus occurs more frequently in hot and humid environments.

The genera Penicillium and Phoma were common in the studied hays. The genus Phoma was predominant (Figure 4) only in the Bermuda grass grown without N. Penicillium was predominant in the Bermuda grass grown with N, in the Bermuda grass with an application of manure and in the Bermuda grass intercropped with pea. These fungi are found in improperly stored forage. The fungi Cladosporium, Curvularia, Aspergillus and Penicillium occur in grass hay (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers) baled with different moisture contents (Freitas et al., 2002). However, according to these authors, a decrease after 30 days of storage occurred in the incidence of Curvularia (a field fungus), and an increase occurred in the incidence of Aspergillus and Penicillium, fungi typically found in storage.

 

 

Figure 4. Count of fungal genera (Log CFU g-1) in Bermuda grass hay 30 days after storage.

 

Fungi of the genus Aspergillus were relatively more prevalent in the Bermuda grass grown with N and in the Bermuda grass grown with pea. The genus Diplococcium occurred only in the Bermuda grass grown with pea. Freitas et al. (2002) evaluated fungi in alfalfa hay stored at 15% humidity and observed that Penicillium was relatively common and that Aspergillus was rare.

This study yielded several important conclusions. The use of forage pea in association with Bermuda grass serves to increase the production and nutritional value of hay produced in the winter. However, hay produced in this way requires more time for drying and baling. The use of swine manure serves to increase the dry matter production of Bermuda grass under fertilization and an augmented supply of water, especially in winters with low precipitation. Storage reduces the in vitro digestibility of dry matter. The application of swine slurry produces a greater increase in the dry matter content of Bermuda grass than the use of chemical fertilization.

 

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Received June 30, 2013
Accepted May 14, 2014