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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Mechanical Processing of Corn Silage: Looking Back Two Years

Authors
item Harrison, J. - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Johnson, L. - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Hunt, Carl - UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO
item Doggett, C. - UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO
item Rotz, Clarence
item Shinners, Kevin - UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
item Sapienza, Don - PIONEER HI-BRED INTL.

Submitted to: Vita Plus Dairy Business Summit Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 4, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Mechanical processing of whole plant corn silage has gained recent attention among beef and dairy producers as a method for improving feed value and animal production. The processing treatment can increase the rate of fermentation, increase pack density, reduce dry matter losses during ensiling, and reduce particle size of the silage. Processing corn silage improves starch digestion as a result of fracturing the corn kernels, and it improves fiber digestion by crushing and shearing the stover and cobs. Improvements in milk production have ranged from .9 to 1.13 kg per d when cows were fed mechanically processed silage. A consistent improvement in milk protein yield has also been observed when processed corn silage is fed. With the advent of mechanical processors, alternative strategies are evident for corn silage management. A longer harvest window is possible and intentional harvest at or near physiological lmaturity may be desirable. DAFOSYM (The Dairy Forage System Model) was used to evaluate the whole farm effects of using silage processing along with delayed harvest. This alternative management strategy increased harvested yield 6.5%, decreased the average silage NDF by about 1% DM, increased milk production by 7 kg/cow/yr, and increased net farm profit by $20/cow/yr. Thus, corn silage processing provides a practical and economical management alternative for silage producers to improve animal production and farm profitability.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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