The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of molasses and propionic acid on the fermentation quality and aerobic stability of total mixed ration (TMR) silages prepared with whole-plant corn in Tibet. TMR (354 g/kg DM) was ensiled with four different treatments: no additive (control), molasses (M), propionic acid (P), and molasses+propionic acid (PM), in laboratory silos (250 mL) and fermented for 45 d. Silos were opened and silages were subjected to an aerobic stability test for 12 days, in which chemical and microbiological parameters of TMR silages were measured to determined the aerobic deterioration. After 45 d of ensiling, the four TMR silages were of good quality with low pH value and ammonia/total N (AN), and high lactic acid (LA) content and V-scores. M silage showed the highest (p<0.05) LA content and higher dry matter (DM) recovery than the control and P silages. P silage had lower (p<0.05) LA content than the control silage. During aerobic exposure, lactic acid contents decreased gradually in the control and M silages, while that of P and PM silages increased, and the peak values were observed after 9 d. M silage had similar yeast counts with the control silage (>0.105 cfu/g FM), however, it appeared to be more stable as indicated by a delayed pH value increase. P and PM silages showed fewer yeasts (<105 cfu/g FM) (p<0.05) and were more stable than the control and M silages during aerobic exposure. It was concluded that M application increased LA content and improved aerobic stability of TMR silage prepared with whole-plant corn in Tibet. P application inhibited lactic acid production during ensiling, and apparently preserved available sugars which stimulated large increases in lactic acid during aerobic exposure stage, which resulted in greater aerobic stability of TMR silage.
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