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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 #393993

Research Project: Forage Characteristics and Utilization that Improve Efficiency of Growth, Performance, Nutrient Use, and Environmental Impacts of Dairy Production

Location: Dairy Forage Research

Title: Impact-shredding processing of whole-plant corn: Machine performance, physical properties, and in situ ruminant digestion

item PINTENS, DAVID - University Of Wisconsin
item SHINNERS, KEVIN - University Of Wisconsin
item FRIEDE, JOSHUA - University Of Wisconsin
item DIGMAN, MATTHEW - University Of Wisconsin
item Kalscheur, Kenneth

Submitted to: Agriculture Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/2023
Publication Date: 1/8/2023
Citation: Pintens, D.A., Shinners, K.J., Friede, J.C., Digman, M.F., Kalscheur, K. 2023. Impact-shredding processing of whole-plant corn: Machine performance, physical properties, and in situ ruminant digestion. Agriculture Journal. 13(1). Article 160.

Interpretive Summary: The objective of this research evaluated how a novel impact and shredding processing device affected the physical and fermentation properties of whole plant corn, and quantify how it affects in situ dry matter (DM) digestion of the processed whole plant corn. This research demonstrated that intensive mechanical processing of whole plant corn created greater physical disruption of both the fiber and kernel fractions compared to conventional processing rolls on a forage harvester. The highly fiberized material resulted in improved compacted density. The process increased DM disappearance using in situ techniques. This research will be of interest to dairy producers, researchers, and ruminant nutritionists interested in improving the value of forages in ruminant diets. Intensive mechanical processing has the potential to improve ruminant animal utilization of forage crops through improved forage utilization.

Technical Abstract: An intensive processing mechanism that combined impact and shredding was applied to create physical disruption of whole-plant corn as a means to increase in situ dry matter (DM) digestion in lactating dairy cows. A ratio of treatment leachate conductivity relative to that of an ultimately processed treatment, defined as a processing level index, was used to quantify material physical disruption. Two processing levels were compared to a control treatment, which applied conventional chopping and kernel processing. The non-grain fraction was substantially size-reduced by processing such that only 28% to 51% by mass of this material remained greater than 6.4 mm length. After processing with the experimental processor, greater than 85% of kernels passed through a 4.75 mm screen, and the corn silage processing score (CSPS) was 18 to 27 percentage points greater than the control. The highly fiberized material was more compliant; thus, compacted density was 9% to 17% greater than the control. During in situ digestion experiments, processing significantly increased the rapidly soluble DM fraction by 10 percentage points and the extent of DM disappearance by 5 percentage points through 16 h incubation.