The Dairy One Forage Lab collaborated with Allenwaite Farm in Schaghticoke, N.Y.. in 2015 to conduct a 12-week study feeding Shredlage® (SCS) versus conventionally processed corn silage (CCS). One objective of the project was to help the farm decide what direction to go with processing corn silage.
The Shredlage® processor rips the forage longitudinally, opens up the rind of the plant, and smashes the corn kernels, resulting in higher corn silage processing scores (CSPS) than conventionally processed corn silage.
Working with Cargill Animal Nutrition, diets were formulated to have 22.4 lbs. (38 % of diet DM) of dry matter from either CCS or SCS, all other ingredients were the same. Diets were fed to two pens of 2+ lactation cows with 152 cows per pen. The cows in the CCS pen averaged 120 DIM and the cows in the SCS pen averaged 115 DIM at the start of the project.
Forage analysis was very similar between weeks three and nine (Table 1), therefore dry matter intake and milk production in the two pens is focused on these weeks. Dry matter intake was similar between weeks three and nine, averaging 56.0 ¬± 1.2 lbs./cow/day on the SCS diet and 55.8 ¬± 1.2 lbs./cow/day on the CCS diet.
Milk production was 2.2 to 3.2 lbs./day higher for the SCS diet than the CCS diet (Figure 1).
The similarity of chemical analysis for SCS and CCS with different milk production responses leads to the second objective of the project - to examine other methods for evaluating corn silage. The percentage of material on the top screen of the Penn State Shaker Box was higher for SCS (36.8 %) than CCS (13.9 %). The CSPS averaged 62.2 ¬± 2.8 for SCS and 56.2 ¬± 4.0 for the CCS. However, milk production in the study was not correlated with the CSPS results. We found better relationships to milk production when we measured the starch and NDF concentrations in the fractions of the CSPS and plan to further explore these measures in 2016.
Overall results of this project were similar to what has been reported in other studies. Milk quality measures were not different, cows did not sort diets, and fecal starch was not different. Milk production response in this study was greater than reported other studies (Shaver, 2014; Ferraretto and Shaver, 2012; and Chase, 2015).
Author: Sally Flis is a Feed and Crops Support Specialist for Dairy One in Ithaca, N.Y.
This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of the Miner Institute Farm Report.