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Field Results with Brown Mid Rib Corn Silage - Dairy Cattle [Skip to Content]
Illinois Livestock Trail by UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION


Dairy Cattle
Illinois Livestock Trail
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FULL TEXT PAPER
Field Results with Brown Mid Rib Corn Silage
by Mike Hutjens, Jim Morrison, Bob Lahne, Jim Baltz, Ed Ballard,


TAKE HOME MESSAGES

  • Brown mid rib (BMR) corn silage was lower in yield (tons dry matter per acre) compared to control corn silage.
  • BMR corn silage was wetter, higher in crude protein, and lower in ADF compared to control corn silage

Brown midrib corn (BMR) is lower in lignin content (about half of normal corn silage), and 6 to 8 percentage units higher in total plant digestibility. Michigan workers reported cows consumed five pounds more TMR and produced 5.5 pounds more milk per cow per day. Yield reduction and high seed costs (over $200 more per bag) have Illinois dairy farmers asking if this BMR silage should be an economical sound decision.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Illinois extension workers worked with seven Illinois dairy farmers who volunteered in the spring of 1997 to collect data on their farms comparing BMR to their best corn silage hybrids (control corn silage). Dry matter yield, plant population, standability, digestibility, and milk production changes will be measured. The initial yield and composition data are listed in Table 1. In the winter of 1998, milk production and digestibility results will be collected and summarized.

RESULTS

Table 1 lists the results obtained from the seven cooperator farms. Generally, BMR corn silage was lower in ADF and dry matter content and higher in crude protein content compared to high yield corn silage control corn silage brands. Dry matter yields were lower with BMR corn silage and were shorter compared to the control. A milk increase (estimated to be 2 to 3 pounds more milk per cow) will be needed to cover higher seed costs and reduced yield. Appreciation is expressed to Illinois dairy farmers who cooperated with this field demonstration: Brian Woker, Ed Schumacher, Mark Erdman, Gerald Poppe, Keith Landis, Rodney Fuchs, and Doug Scheider.

Table 1. Preliminary Illinois dairy farm results comparing BMR and control high yielding corn silage (values separated with a diagonal indicates two different samples on the farm).

  BMR Silage Control Silage
Herd A    
Dry matter (%) 36.9 42.8
Crude protein (%) 8.97 6.93
ADF (%) 26.5 28.6
Plant height (inch) 80 90
Ear length (inch) 10 11
Plants per acre 24,412 24,045
Yield (ton DM/acre) 5.4 6.5
Herd B    
Dry matter (%) 27.1/28.6 29.6/36.4
Crude protein (%) 9.7/10.2 10.5/9.5
ADF (%) 21.8/26.3 27.6/21.9
Plant height (inch) 96/88 98/106
Ear length (inch) 7 8
Plants per acre 27,000 25,000
Yield (ton DM/acre) 6.1 7.2
Herd C    
Dry matter (%) 31.2 27.8/31.5
Crude protein (%) 12.2 12.5
ADF (%) 23.7 24.6
Yield (ton DM/acre) 5.2 4.6/6.1
Herd D    
Dry matter (%) 31.7 32.9/38.2
Crude protein (%) 9.7 9.5/9.4
ADF (%) 14.5 17.7/11.5
Yield (ton DM/acre) 8.3 9.3/8.7
Herd E    
Dry matter (%) 33.0 34.8
Crude protein (%) 9.0 8.7
ADF (%) 27.3 29.0
Plant height (inch) 89 102
Planting Population 31,500 31,500
Harvest Population 27,200 27,650
Yield (ton DM/acre) 6.0 6.9
Herd F    
Dry matter (%) 41.2 40.1
Crude protein (%) 9.3 9.0
ADF (%) 24.2 22.6
Plant height (inch) 91 96
Planting Population 31,500 31,500
Harvest Population 28,900 24,400
Yield (ton DM/acre) 6.3 7.2
Herd G    
Dry matter (%) 38.2 43.6
Crude protein (%) 9.9 8.7
ADF (%) 20.9 21.7
Plant height (inch) 81 97
Planting Population 27,000 27,000
Harvest Population 22,000 24,625
Yield (ton DM/acre) 7.6 8.4






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