Forage Quality: Increase Sugars

Project entitled:

Production of Carbohydrate-rich Fodder

Guy Allard, Gaëtan Tremblay, Gilles Bélanger, Annick Bertrand, Yves Castonguay, Raynald Drapeau, Réal Michaud, Robert Berthiaume, Doris Pellerin, Daniel Lefebvre, Alain Fournier


Fodder that is rich in rapidly fermentable energy helps increase the efficiency of nitrogen utilization by ruminants and reduces the amount of nitrogen excreted into the atmosphere. This research project showed that it is possible to increase the rapidly fermentable energy content of fodder by increasing its nonstructural carbohydrate content, which improves the milk production of cows through increased food intake and more efficient use of nitrogen. This strategy can reduce nitrogen emissions by 10 to 15% and result in net gains of more than $15 million annually for Quebec milk farmers. The project demonstrated the economic and environmental benefits of using nonstructural carbohydrate-rich fodder on Quebec dairy farms. The results: 1) enabled the development of agronomic recommendations for producing nonstructural carbohydrate-rich fodder within Quebec dairy businesses; 2) showed an improvement in the nitrogen use efficiency in more carbohydrate-rich fodder, with a corresponding reduction of nitrogen losses in the environment; and 3) showed that near-infrared spectroscopy can be used to predict the various nonstructural carbohydrates of fodder produced in Quebec.