“Corn Silage: Getting it Right!”



In this month’s Hoard’s Webinar, Mike Hutjens (pictured left) revealed how to
“get corn silage right,” all the way from chopping to feeding. 
Here are his five recommendations:

1. Chop corn silage at its optimal maturity.

  • Use corn silage for 2/3-3/4 of  forage dry matter.
  • Hutjens recommends chopping low (6.8 ± 2.5″) for greater yield. 
  • Opt for a later cut to maximize starch.

2. Processing corn silage correctly is critical.

  • Higher effective fiber, processing score, consistency of cut…the processing challenge is that “you can not have it all.”
  • Hutjens’ bottom line – process all corn silage for the optimal product.

3. Inoculating is recommended.

  • Study results indicate significant improvements in DM digestibility and recovery with the use of inoculants.
  • Hutjens estimates the benefit to cost ratio of inoculants to be 6:1.

4. Packing & covering are critical.

  • When covering, be sure to overlap plastic by 6-8 ft.
  • The thinner the layer of silage, the more dense it is. Ex. 2-4″ thick is better than 6-10″.
  • The drier the corn silage, the better it packs.

5. Balance rations to complement corn silage nutrients.

  • NDFD increases during storage as organic acids increase fiber digestibility (initial 3 months).
  • As corn silage is stored, more starch is available in the rumen (4-6 months after ensiling).
  • Hutjens’ take home message: Aim for “Christmas corn silage!” In other words, wait until December to open new silage.
Source: “Corn Silage: Getting it Right!” Hoard’s Webinar presented by Mike Hutjens on July 11, 2011.

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