alternative forages, nutritional quality of silage, preference of silage
a) Objective. The objective was to evaluate the forage production of maize, maize + sunflower and its preference for sheep as silage. b) Design/methodology/approach. The design in the field was in completely randomized blocks with three replications and in the laboratory in a completely randomized design (Tukey α = 0.05). Sowing was in spring - summer 2020 under rainfed conditions. The treatments were: 100 % corn, 90 % corn + 10 % sunflower, 80 % corn + 20 % sunflower. Forage production was evaluated at 126 days of sowing, it was ensiled and the quality through bromatological analysis. For silage preference, 10 pregnant Hampshire × Suffolk ewes were used with 44.8 kg of live weight along 20 days. c) Results. The 80 % maize + 20% sunflower combination showed higher green forage yield (P<0.001; 28 t ha-1), higher percentage of soluble protein (P<0.01) and higher percentage of lignin (P<0.001; 4.6 %). The sheep preferred the silage with 100 % corn, since it had a lower percentage of non-fibrous carbohydrates (22.2 %), lower acid detergent fiber (35.3 %) and lower neutral detergent fiber (59.4 %). d) Limitations/implications. Sunflower should be established on soils with low numbers of broadleaf plant seeds, because chemical control cannot be applied. e) Findings/conclusions. A greater amount of forage was produced per surface unit whit 80 % corn + 20 % sunflower. The 100 % maize silage was preferred by sheep due to lower percentage of lignin, and higher in vitro digestibility of neutral detergent fiber.