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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #224037

Title: Fiber Digestibility And Starch Content Of Corn Silage

item Martin, Neal
item Mertens, David
item Hall, Mary Beth

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/22/2008
Publication Date: 2/26/2008
Citation: Martin, N.P., Mertens, D.R., Hall, M., Lauer, J.G. 2008. Fiber digestibility and starch content of corn silage. In: Proceedings of 2008 Idaho Alfalfa and Forage Conference, February 26-27, 2008, Burley, Idaho. p. 19-24.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Corn silage is a major forage crop in Idaho that supports its dairy industry. Corn silage produces more digestible energy per acre than other forages. Nutritionally, corn silage is palatable when ensiled properly and high in energy because it typically contains 50% corn grain. Digestibility of starch declines as the kernel matures. Effective roller processing of corn silage ensures that most of the energy in corn kernels is readily digested by dairy cows. Fiber digestibility can be measured as in vitro neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFD), using different fermentation times (24, 30 or 48-hour). The bm3 gene in corn plants reduces lignin content, increases NDFD in vitro, but may not increase NDFD in vivo. Brown midrib corn silage resulted in additional milk per cow per day from increased dry matter intake, but did not improve digestibility. Corn silage production is most profitable when yield and dry matter digestibility are highest. High yield with low fiber digestibility, low starch availability, or ineffective fiber can result in nutritional problems for high-producing dairy cattle.