Tips for Feeding High-Corn Silage Rations

Tips for Feeding High-Corn Silage Rations

Here are some tips to consider when feeding high rates of corn silage:

  1. Evaluate silage kernal processing - Send off a sample for kernels to make sure that the kernels have to be damaged sufficiently to allow complete starch digestion.
  2. Watch the starch - High levels of starch in corn silage have often been blamed for low butterfat tests, underperformance or inconsistency in manure scores. Watch the use of high-moisture corn or snaplage in the diet, as they will also have elevated ruminal digestion rates this late into the storage season. Dry corn may be a better grain source in very high-level corn silage diets.
  3. Watch effective fiber - If the chop length of the corn silage is short, it may be necessary to find an effective fiber source such as poor quality hay or straw to create a rumen mat matrix to help stimulate cud chewing and the production of saliva to buffer rumen acid production.
  4. Keep supplemental fat within reason - Be sure to review the tallow supplementation. Too much in high-corn silage rations showed some tendency to reduce intake and lower fat test.
  5. Consider protein - To have success with a high-corn silage ration, both protein quantity and quality need to be taken into consideration. High-energy corn silage will grow lots of rumen bacteria, which the cow will digest as a high-quality protein source.
  6. Avoid feeding high-corn silage diets to dry cows and heifers - These energy-rich diets often result in fat heifers and problems for dry cows.

Article from Progressive Dairyman, May 2017

Tags: Corn Silage, Feeding Strategies