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Volume 16: Issue 5 July 2014

BOTTOM LINE Sharing ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.

Looking ahead to corn silage harvest Page 3 Haylage Test Results

Page 4 ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings: Community leaders invited

High-quality corn silage contributes greatly to supplying the energy, starch and forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF) needs of high-producing dairy cows, reducing purchased feed costs from expensive grain and byproduct supplements and generating milk revenues on most farms. Given the still tight overall forage inventories on some farms and the highly variable hay-crop silage quality on many farms which resulted from wet harvest conditions, corn silage harvest management practices will be especially important this Figure 1. Overview of the factors that influence the nutritive value of year. corn silage.

Page 12 Discovery Farms: Tillage Systems

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Managing Risk ............ 10 Program Preview ........ 14 PDPW Intern..................15

Randy Shaver

So let’s look ahead to corn silage harvest and review harvest management practices. An overview of the factors that influence the nutritive value of corn silage is presented in Figure 1. The starch content of corn silage greatly influences its energy value and is largely related to grain yield or the proportion

of grain to stover in the wholeplant dry matter (DM). This will be primarily determined by the corn silage hybrids grown and the growing conditions. At the time of harvest, three factors related to starch content warrant consideration: 1) Harvesting at 35% to 38% whole-plant DM content will increase yield and starch content compared to harvesting earlier at 30% to 33% DM. 2) A cutting height of 18 inches, as opposed to 6 inches off the ground, can increase starch content a few percentage units if desired. 3) Fields with reduced grain yields can be harvested with the intent of feeding to replacement heifers, dry cows and lower-producing cows on

farms where segmenting by silage quality among silos and the feeding of multiple lactation groups is possible. The digestibility of the kernel or starch in corn silage is influenced primarily by kernel particle size and the duration of time that the silage undergoes fermentation in the silo prior to feeding. Greater starch digestibility is associated with a finer particle size which is achieved by greater kernel processing. The degree of kernel processing is related to chop length and processor settings on the forage harvester. Typically forage harvesters equipped with conventional-type kernel processors have been set for a 19 – 23 millimeter (mm) theoretical length of cut, TLOC, (15%

See SILAGE, on page 2

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PDPW Dairy's Bottom Line July 2014  

Sharing ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed. JULY 2014 ISSUE

PDPW Dairy's Bottom Line July 2014  

Sharing ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed. JULY 2014 ISSUE