The objective of the present work, was to evaluate the characteristics of the fermentation process of Ratana Grass (Ischaemum indicum Houtt.) and the quality of the ensilage produced, when three different additives were added. The experiment was carried out at Limón, Costa Rica, between the months of July and December, at an area located 249 m.a.s.l., with a mean temperature of 24.5 °C and 4577.2 mm of rain distributed mainly between May and December. A randomized complete block design, with four repetitions and nine treatments was used with the following additives: soilage with molasses, ground corn or dehydrated citrus pulp on three orthogonal levels of addition. Molasses and dehydrated citrus pulp produced the most important losses (p<0.05) with fresh matter reductions of 13.27% and 14.42% respectively; while the treatments with ground corn reported 11.68% of fresh matter losses. No differences were obtained (p>0.05) for dry matter (DM), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), hemicellulose and ashes percentages on any treatment. Crude protein (CP), cellulose and ether extract (EE) differed according to the amount of additive used (p<0.05). pH levels found were statistically lower for the molasses treatments (4.84), compared to the ground corn (5.10) or dehydrated citrus pulp (5.02) treatments. Finally, all analyzed treatments showed organoleptic characteristics corresponding to good quality silages.
Keywords: silage with molasses, ground corn in silage, citrus pulp in silage.