This study was conducted to determine the feed qualities of sunflower silages produced with different chopping lengths and under different compaction values. Olivia species sunflower was used in the study. Sunflowers were harvested at the grain-dough maturity stage using silage machine. Dry matter rate on harvesting was 298.5 g/kg and plants were cut in the lengths ranging between 1 and 4 cm. Cut material was divided into three groups in three different plastic containers, which have the same volume of 60 L and these containers were applied to three different compaction values of 1, 2 and 3 MPa, respectively using a hydraulic press whose pressure values can be regulated. At the end of the fermentation period of 60 days, sunflower silages were analysed chemically. Mean dry matter content of total sunflower silages was 287.2 g/kg, mean pH value was 4.29, crude protein content was 95.5 g/kgDM, ADF content was 429.6 g/kgDM, and NDF content was 434.6 g /kgDM and Fleig score was 91.04. Larger chopping length increased the pH value of sunflower silage (p < 0.01) and ADF content (p < 0.05), while decreasing the Fleig score (p < 0.01). Under increased compaction values, pH values decreased (p < 0.05) and Fleig score increased (p < 0.01). It was consequently found in the study that sunflower silage with higher feed quality was obtained with the crops harvested at grain-dough maturity stage, cut into 1 cm length and compressed under 3 MPa.
Key words: Sunflower silage, chopping length, compaction, feed quality.
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