Course code LauZ6127

Credit points 5

Grass Forage Preparation

Total Hours in Course200

Number of hours for lectures24

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes56

Independent study hours120

Date of course confirmation28.11.2011

Responsible UnitInstitute of Soil and Plant Science

Course developer

author prof.

Aleksandrs Adamovičs

Dr. agr.

Prior knowledge

LauZ5135, Bio-ecological Base of Crop Production

Course abstract

Master students obtain a thorough knowledge of: the optimum timing and frequency of grassland utilization for the preparation of high-quality feed; the technological process and technical equipment used in haymaking and in making hay-crop silage and wilted grass silage; and the use of drying agents and chemical additives in the production of the most appropriate forage.
The students learn the physiological and biological processes occurring in herbage after mowing, during feed preparation and storage, as well as the feed accounting and quality preservation.
Mastering the program will significantly increase the skills of agricultural specialists.
The acquired knowledge will be helpful in the development of professional skills of agricultural specialists.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

Knowledge of optimal grassland application times and frequency for high-quality forage preparation. Physiological and biological processes occurring in grasses after mowing and during forage preparation and storage – 1st test work.
Skills to organize and manage the technological process of hay, haylage, silage, artificially dehydrated and chemically preserved forage preparation and to draw up the technological plans for the production of grass forage and the set of machines and units to be used – 2nd test work. Semester work.

Competence in organizing forage production, harvesting, storage and marketing, in choosing the most suitable grasses, in studying and analyzing the scientific and other literature, in discussing the topics acquired in the course, in continuing the self-education in topics included in the course, as well as in being engaged in the production and/or consultancy, and/or scientific research – 3rd test work. Semester work.

Course Content(Calendar)

1. Introduction. The importance and proportion of grass forage in the ration of livestock. Nutrition types, chemical composition, nutritional and energy value of preserved grass forage. Scientific research work on grass forage technology; scientific institutions and leading researchers. The latest theoretical findings in the development of forage technology for grasses and the development of certain technological processes.
2. Rational use of grasses. Mowing. Optimal grass mowing times for hay, haylage, silage and artificially dehydrated grass for forage preparation. Optimal extension of the lawn mowing time. Critical periods for mowing different herbaceous species and grasses.
Cutting height and frequency. The reason for choosing the optimal cutting height for legumes, grasses and mixed grasses. The effects of mowing time, height and frequency on the regrowth of grassland, its botanical composition, perenniality and productivity.
3. Grass wilting on the field. The importance of proper wilting. Water status in grasses. The diffusion of external and internal water from grasses. Water evaporation rate from different grass species and from different parts of a plant. The physiological and biochemical processes in grass during its wilting and drying. The types and amount of nutrient losses. Theoretical basis of nutrient losses. Loss reduction opportunities.
1st test work on the issues covered by points 2 to 3. Evaluated by a mark.
4. Hay preparation. The types and sequence of technological operations. The choice of mowers for different types of lawn. Cutting techniques. Field drying of grass and the techniques for the acceleration of the drying process. Hay drying techniques. Hay drying using active ventilation. The equipment of active ventilation. Drying of hay with warm air. Options for the use of solar power in active hay ventilation.
The process of wilted grass fermentation, hay flavouring, self-heating and self-ignition; its scientific explanation. Hay moisture; its detection techniques and methods. Preparation of loose hay. Types of loose hay. Hay baling. Hay baling and packing. Technological requirements for the preparation of pressed hay.
Transportation of hay to storage facilities. Types of transport and its equipment. Storing of hay. Storing of hay in piles, heaps and barns. Techniques and rules for the stacking of loose and pressed hay. Stacking mechanization.
5. Preparation of preserved forage. The conveyor of grasses for providing a continuous technological process. The process of grass preservation. Respiration of plants and the release of carbon dioxide; the factors influencing this process. The factors to consider when preserving different types of grass forage; their scientific explanation. The microbiology of grasses preservation. The types and formation of bacteria. Lactic acid, butyric acid and putrefying bacteria, molds and yeasts. Phases of bacterial formation.
Ensiling of grasses, and the factors affecting it: moisture, temperature, degree of fragmentation, active acidity of the environment, osmotic pressure. Peculiarities of ensiling different herbaceous species and mixture of species.
2nd test work on the issues covered by points 4 to 5. Evaluated by a mark.
6. Technology of the preparation of haylage and silage. Types, sequence and essential requirements of technological operations. The complex of machines and aggregates.
The collection, crushing and loading of the harvested grasses into vehicles. Transportation of crushed plant mass to storage sites. Types of vehicles.
Silo wall and silo repositories: piles, trenches, towers, synthetic film tanks. Their pros and cons. Application of preservatives. The types of chemical preservatives and biological starters, their characterization. The selection and application of preservatives. Methods of filling liquid and dry preservatives into the green mass. The evaluation of the quality of plant mass treatment.
The filling of storage facilities with the preservable mass. Technological requirements and the aggregate complex. Loading techniques, levelling and compaction of the preservable mass. The necessity for and the duration and degree of compaction.
Warehouse sealing. The sealing layer of piles and trenches. Installation of the film cover. Connecting the film cover with trench walls and ends. Creating a blanket. Preparation of haylage and silage in coils. Technological requirements, basic operations, the machine and plant complex. Selection of films and the calculation of the requirements.
Round baling. Bale wrapping. Transportation of bales to storage locations. Bale storage.
3rd test work on the issues covered by point 6. Evaluated by a mark.
7. The accounting and evaluation of grass forage. Accounting of hay stored in piles, heaps and sheds. The deadlines of carrying out the accounting. The references necessary for accounting. Accounting of loose and pressed hay. Accounting of haylage and silage. A mass of one m3 hay, haylage and silage, depending on their botanical composition and storage life. Forage quality; the techniques and methods to determine it.
8. National standards for grass forage. The importance of standardization in the production of high-quality forage. Quality indicators of forage standards, and their scientific substantiation. Groups of forage quality according to grass species.

9. Elaboration and public presentation of the semester work. Evaluated by a mark. Each student individually coordinates the topic of the course paper with the course leader. The subject of the course paper should be topical and of practical or theoretical significance.

Requirements for awarding credit points

Attending lectures at LLU is compulsory.
1. Three written tests about the issues covered in: points 2–3; 2) points 4–5; 3) point 6. Students receive a mark for the questions learned.
2. Prepare three oral presentations with an illustrative Power Point slides support: 1) about the issues learned in points 2–3; 2) about the issues learned in points 4–5; 3) about the issues learned in point 6. Students receive a mark that may affect the final grade in the + or - direction.
3. Perform the semester work – get a grade.
4. All works should be successfully completed.
5. The assessment of all “passed” term works builds up 70% of exam evaluation.
6. The remaining 30% are obtained during the written exam, where three questions are answered by lottery, each question accounting for 10% of the final grade.

Credits are obtained if positive reports are received after submission of papers and the submission and public presentation of semester paper. If all tests are not evaluated as successful, the exam is not allowed.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

• Each student prepares three 15 min. long reports (in PowerPoint format):
1) on a freely chosen topic covering the issues learned in points 2–3;
2) on a freely chosen topic covering the issues learned in points 4–5;
3) on a freely chosen topic covering the issues learned in points 6.
• Students ccomplete a semester work with 1.5 CP from the total 5.0 CPs. The semester work should be developed independently, consulting a lecturer.
Study and review of scientific literature; reports. Semester work includes literature studies or laboratory tests, or analysis of the production of different types of grass fodder on a given farm. The independent work should be prepared according to the instructions of the Faculty of Agriculture, including all the sections of the research report (in Word format); the preferred volume: 10–15 pages without appendices and the list of references.

• On some topics, guest lectures are organized, attracting local (from Latvian scientific institutions and companies) and foreign guest lecturers whenever possible.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

The works evaluated with a mark must be completed in accordance with the requirements set out in the previous paragraph; reports should be presented to a group of Master students.
Tests receiving a grade should be evaluated according to the grade scale of 1–10.
Reports and semester work are graded on a 10-point scale, focusing on:
1) the logic and completeness of the presentation of the question;
2) completeness of the presentation of results;
3) ability to select and analyze scientific literature and research results on a particular topic;
4) conclusions and suggestions, their logic, professionalism;
5) correct use of professional and scientific terminology.

The defence of the semester work (must be defended before the exam). Semester work is evaluated with a separate mark. An exam that includes the grade point for reports and semester work.

Compulsory reading

1.Adamovičs A. (2017). Zālāju ierīkošana un izmantošana: mācību grāmata; otrs, papildinātais izdevums. Jelgava, 140 lpp.
2.Augkopība (2004). Ruža A. (red.). LLU, Jelgava, 374 lpp.
3.Alfalfa and Alfa Improvement (1998). Ed. by Hanson A.A., Barues D.K., Hill R.R. et al. ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin (USA),1084 p.
4.Champan G.P. (1996). The Biology of Grasses. CAB International, Oxon, 273 p.
5.Clover Science and Technology (1985). Ed. by N.L. Taelor. ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin (USA), 616 p.
6.Cool-season Forage Grasses (1996). Ed. by L.E. Moser et al. ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin (USA), 841 p.
7.Forages. Volume I. An introduction to Grassland Agriculture (2013). Ed. by R.F. Barnes, C.J. Nelson, M. Collins, K.J. Moore. Jowa State University Press, Ames, Jowa (USA), 556 p.
8.Forages. Volume II. The Science of Grassland Agriculture (2013). Ed. by Forages. Volume I. An introduction to Grassland Agriculture (2013). Ed. by R.F. Barnes, C.J. Nelson, M. Collins, K.J. Moore. Jowa State University Press, Ames, Jowa (USA), 791 p.
9.Frame J. and Laidlaw A.S. (2014). Improved Grassland Management. The Growood Press Ltd, United Kingdom, 352 p.
10.Frame J. (1992). Improved Grassland Management. Farming Press, United Kingdom, 351 p.
11.Whitehead D.C. (1995). Grassland Nitrogen. CAB International, Wallinford, 397 p.
12.Lauksaimniecības zinātne Latvijā (2000). E. Bērziņš (sast.). LLU, Jelgava, 220 lpp.

13.Koломейченко В.В. (2015). Кормопроизводство. Санкт–Петербург, Москва, Краснодар, Лань, 656 c.

Further reading

1.Grünland Wirtschaft und Futterbau (1987). Hrsg. Von G. Voigtlander, H. Jacob. Stuttgart, Verl. E. Ulmer, 480 S.
2.Биологическая полноценность кормов (1989). Григорев Н.Г., Волков Н.П., Воробьев Е.С. и др. М.: Агропромиздат, 287 с.
3.Богданов Г.А., Привало О.Е. (1985). Сенаж и силос. М.: Колос, 319 с.
4.Валушис В.Ю. (1977). Основы высокотемпературной сушки кормов. М.: Колос, 336 с.
5.Дроздов И.П. и др. (1987). Культурное лугопастбищное хозяйство в Нечерноземной зоне. Л.: Агропромиздат, 207 с.
6.Зафрен С.Я. (1977). Технология приготовления кормов. М.: Колос, 240 с.
7.Абашев В.Д., Кокурин Г.П., Прозорова И.Н., Юлушев И.Т. (1986). Зеленный конвейер. М.: Россельхозиздат, 78 с.
8.Зинченко Л.И., Прогорелова И.Е. (1985). Приготовление объемистых кормов. Л.: Агропромиздат, 182 с.
9.Использование химических препаратов при объемистых кормов. (1985). Л.: Агропромиздат, 182 с.
10.Ларин И.В., Иванов А.Ф., Бегучев П.П. и др. (1990). Луговодство и пастбишное хозячйство. Агропромиздат, Ленинград, 600 с.
11.Рaботнов Т. (1985). Экология луговых растений. МГУ, Москвa, 176 с.

12.Куделин Б.П. (1988). Сеянные многолетние травы. Зинатне, Рига, 332 с.

Periodicals and other sources

Zinātniskie žurnāli un rakstu krājumi, kas pieejami LLU FB abonētajās datu bāzēs, piemēram: Rural Sustainability Research (LLU Raksti), Agronomijas Vēstis, Agronomy Research, Žemdirbyste=Agriculture, Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Sec. B Soil and Plant Science, Crop Science, LF konferenču un semināru Rakstu krājumi utt. – atbilstoši tematikai.


Compulsory course for the Master Degree Program of the Speciality of Grassland Management of the Faculty of Agriculture.