Can dairy corn silages be compared?

Penn State Extension

The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP) and Penn State partner in a corn silage hybrid testing program. Results for NDF and starch digestibility yield discussion about the impact of corn silage in rations for dairy cattle.

In an ideal dairy corn silage world, we would be able to see and measure the corn silage varieties, compare their forage digestibility related to how they might work in our dairy rations, and then purchase those varieties for next year’s planting. Just like on a team event, where we all work together on the same issue, if the dairy farm corn silage testing was using the same analysis testing as the corn silage trials, this would be great.

The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP)/Penn State corn silage trials have partnered with other Northeast corn silage trials and they have agreed to test corn silage digestibility the same across the Northeast. The parameter uNDF240om was added to all sample tests by the following partners in 2017: PDMP/ Penn State, Cornell, University of Vermont, and Western NY Crop Management Association (WNYCMA). The trial data was tested at Cumberland Valley Forage Labs for uNDF240om as a group.

See the PDMP/Penn State corn silage results at ” 2019 Results: PA Commercial Grain and Silage Hybrid Corn Tests Report .”

Dairy producers could also have their own corn silage tested for uNDF240om and then compare silage results against other varieties.

Let’s take a look at how many samples had been tested for uNDF240 from the 2019 harvest season across NY and PA. Looking at the Dairy One forage testing lab for NY and PA corn silage samples, in NY from September 2019 to December 2019, 526 corn silage samples with 194 being tested on the basic program of NDFD 30 and 151 being tested on the Forage PRO program of uNDF240om. Only 1/3 of corn silage tests run at Dairy One tested for uNDF240.

In PA, 84 corn silage samples with 30 being tested on the basic program of NDFD 30 and 47 being tested on the Forage PRO program of uNDF240om.

Dairy farms that submit samples to Cumberland Valley Forage labs, could also add uNDF240 to their list and then have the opportunity to compare their home corn silage results with the University trials data.

By spending an extra few dollars to test for uNDF240, on-farm data can be compared with other samples taken in the Northeast that best matches your farm. By having many sample locations available to compare on farm samples with, the strength in the results will greatly increase. This might be the most important change this winter to do more testing with all the planting, growing and harvest challenges that we have had across our corn silage season.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.