The University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program conducted an organic silagecorn variety trial in 2018 to provide unbiased performance comparisons of commercially available varieties. With the expansion of the organic dairy industry in our region there is increased interest in organic cornsilage production. To determine varieties that are best suited to this production system and our region’s climate, we evaluated 11 commercially available organic cornsilage varieties. It is important to remember that the data presented are from a replicated research trial from only one location in Vermont and represent only one season. Crop performance data from additional tests in different locations and over several years should be compared before making varietal selections.
July 21, 2017
Dry conditions in some areas of Iowa this summer are resulting in quite variable corn growth and production potential. Some livestock producers are considering harvest of corn damaged by drought conditions for silage. Cornsilage harvest results in more phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) removal than grain alone because almost the entire plant is harvested. The increased amount removed with silage differs for P and K because the relative amount of P and K is different in corn vegetative parts than in grain. For P there can be approximately four times more P per ton of dry matter in grain than
It is important to remember that the results only represent one year of data. This season was favorable for silagecorn, with a warm May and September allowing varieties to reach proper maturity for harvest. It is important to note that all varieties were higher than the desired 35% DM at the time of harvest. This was likely due to leaf blight plaguing the area in late August. Much of the leafy material was brown and degraded at harvest. There was no severe lodging of corn stalks. Yields ranged from 36.2 to 19.7 tons per acre, indicating the importance of proper varietal selection to maximize short season corn yields. Several short season varieties yielded well and produced high quality feed.
The soil type at the Alburgh location was a Benson rocky silt loam (Table 3). The seedbed was fall chisel plowed and spring disked followed by spike tooth harrow. The previous crop was silagecorn. Starter fertilizer (10-20-20) was applied at a rate of 200 lbs per acre. Plots were 30 feet x 5 feet and replicated 3 times.. They were planted with a John Deere 1750 planter on 9-May. The seeding rate was 34,000 seeds per acre. An herbicide mix of Lumax® (S-metolachlor, atrazine, and mesotrione) at 3 quarts per acre and Accent® (nicosulfuron) was sprayed, post-emergence, on 6-Jun. On 1-Oct, the corn was harvested with a John Deere 2-row chopper, and forage was weighed in a wagon fitted with scales. Dry matter yields were calculated and then yields were adjusted to 35% dry matter.
ciated to high temperatures and strong evapotranspiration, which reduces the nutritional value of this food . The silage is an important agricultural technique for maintaining and increasing the productivity of herds, es- pecially during the off-season, when there is scarcity of food for ruminants. Among the various forages, annual and/or perennial plants, maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the most used in ruminant nutrition by presenting a good yield of green matter, excellent quality fermentation and maintaining nutritional value of silage, low operating cost of production, and is grown in various soil and climatic conditions . Silagecorn is capable of providing 50% - 100% more digestible energy per hectare than any forage. According  the corn cultivars evaluated conferred higher nutritional value to silage when compared with sorghum cultivars.
Many organic dairies are considering cornsilage production to help reduce expensive concentrate purchases. Cornsilage is a good source of energy/starch for livestock. In 2012, the University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program conducted organic cornsilage variety trials in Alburgh and Randolph, Vermont. The purpose of these trials is to provide unbiased performance comparisons of commercially available organic silagecorn varieties. It is important to remember however, that the data presented are from replicated research trials from two locations in Vermont and represent only one season. Crop performance data from different locations and over several years should be compared before making varietal selections.
improvement in silage fermentation. The poor relationship between animal performance and digestibility in this summary may suggest MTDI is eliciting a probiotic effect
(Weinberg and Muck, 1996). Rooke and Kafilzadeh (1994) completed a study
comparing two other LAB strains to MTDI. An improvement in silage fermentation was observed for all three strains, by decreasing pH, increasing lactic acid concentration, than control silages. However, only MTDI produced an improvement in animal performance by increasing DM intake. The improvements in animal performance in this study, suggest the improvements may be related to specific strains of bacteria. Two studies were completed by Keady and Steen (1994, 1995) analyzing the rumen fluid of calves fed MTD1-inoculated grass silage. In 1994, inoculation increased DM NDF and digestible organic matter concentration. Rumen fermentation patterns were altered, but little effect was observed on rumen degradability of silage. Silage inoculation had little effect on DMI for steers. In the second study, NDF concentration was again increased, however, DMI was increased. They also found the silages inoculated with MTD1 had an increase in total volatile fatty acid concentration. There also tended to be a decrease in butyrate and an increase in propionate (Keady and Steen 1994, 1995). After reviewing many studies in 1996, Weinberg and Muck suggested that a probiotic effect of the inoculant may be causing the increased animal performance in some cases.
In the experiment with silage maize half-breed KURATUS (KWS seeds, s. r. o.), Bt-maize (GMO) was monitored preservative eﬀ ect of biological additives on quality of fermentative process of model si- lages and aerobic stability in comparison with untreated checking silage. Additives were homogenous applied batched according to producer. Results were statistically analyzed using the method of sin- gle-factor analysis of variance (SNEDOCOR and COCHRAN, 1967). The average DM content in the harvested crop (hybrid Romario) was 304.9 g.kg −1 . The application of microbial additives decreased pH
“Corn Picker for CornSilage” is an Excel spreadsheet program that more accurately determines a superior cornsilage hybrid based on all relevant costs and returns that affect cornsilage and dairy nutrition. It can be localized to specific farm situations or one can use a standard set of costs such as “Estimated Costs of Crop Production in Iowa-2009” FM-1712 and “Livestock Enterprise Budget for Iowa-2009” FM-1815. Both are available from ISU County Extension Offices.
AgResearch and Education Center Tests: Fourteen corn hybrids were evaluated for silage yield
and quality in 2012. The tests were conducted at the East Tennessee (Knoxville and Maryville), Plateau (Crossville), Highland Rim (Springfield), and Middle Tennessee (Spring Hill), AgResearch and Education Centers. The plots at all locations consisted of two rows, planted 30 inches apart, 30 feet in length and were replicated three times. Yields presented were adjusted to both dry weight and 65 percent moisture. The plant populations as well as the planting and harvesting dates are given in Table 1. Plots were harvested by commercial silage harvesters. A sub-sample from each plot of approximately 3 pounds was taken for analysis. Fresh weight and dried weight were recorded on each sample for determination of moisture at harvest. The samples were then ground and analyzed for nutritional content. Silage quality analyses were provided by Cumberland Valley Analytical Services Inc., Hagerstown, Md. Predictions for milk production per ton and milk production per acre were calculated using the University of Wisconsin Milk2006 program.
Cornsilage hybrid performance was evaluated by the predicted milk production output of the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS v.7.0; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY). Rumen fill dictates the amount of feed a cow can consume and is limited by either the amount of uNDFom or aNDFom in a ration. There is a direct correlation between dry matter intake (DMI) and milk production. Therefore, by limiting the amount of feed consumed, the cow’s milk production potential is limited. Cornsilage chemistry results were applied to a typical New York high cornsilage-based diet (forage at ~60% of diet DM; cornsilage ~70% of forage DM) in the CNCPS. For practical purposes, since the samples had not undergone fermentation, a feed library value was assigned to soluble protein, ammonia, volatile fatty acids, and 7-hr starch digestibility values. The base diet was formulated by Dr. Tom Overton, Dr. Van Amburgh, and Michael Dineen. Initially, each individual replicate replaced the base cornsilage in the diet at the same DM amount. Subsequently, DMI of the entire ration was adjusted based on the first limiting rumen fill factor; 1) the rumen aNDFom pool size or 2) the rumen uNDFom pool size and the predicted milk production was recorded. This novel approach to hybrid evaluation allows us to account for differences in DMI potential of the total ration based upon hybrid selection and is a more biologically robust representation compared to evaluating hybrids on a constant DMI basis. The predictions made by the CNCPS v.7.0 were used to evaluate differences in intake
samples were also collected by removing an eight-inch section of corn stalk six inches above the ground for five random plants in each plot. These samples were dried, ground, and sent to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for nitrate analysis. Corn was harvested on 20-Oct. An approximate 1 lb subsample was collected, dried, ground, and then analyzed for quality. Soils were sampled for available nitrate nitrogen and phosphorus on 23-Oct and were analyzed at the University of Vermont Agricultural and Environmental Testing Laboratory, Burlington, VT.
USING WINTER RYE AS FORAGE IN CORNSILAGE SYSTEMS Dr. Heather Darby, University of Vermont Extension
Producing sufficient high quality forage throughout the year is becoming difficult given current economic and environmental pressures. Farmers are looking for strategies to improve yield and quality of their own forage to reduce the financial burden of purchasing feed off-farm. In addition, with increasing focus on managing farm nutrient balances for environmental reasons, farmers are also looking to decrease the importation of additional nutrients from feed onto their farms. One strategy for accomplishing this is utilizing winter grains, such as winter rye, as forage crops. These crops could be grazed or harvested in the fall to extend the grazing season, and in the spring providing early forage prior to planting cornsilage. To better understand how to successfully integrate winter rye forage into cornsilage cropping systems, the University of Vermont Northwest Crops and Soils Program initiated a trial altering winter rye planting dates in combination with varying corn maturities.
Abstract – The objective of this work was to compare the yield and nutritive value of the silage of corn intercropped with palisade grass (Urochloa brizantha 'Marandu') or guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus 'Tanzânia') with those of the silage of monocropped corn, as well as to evaluate the pasture established in the intercropping systems during two growing seasons (2010–2011 and 2011–2012), in low-altitude Brazilian Cerrado. The treatments consisted of three cropping systems: monocropped corn, corn intercropped with palisade grass, and corn intercropped with guinea grass, with four replicates. Intercropping decreased corn forage dry matter yield for silage; however, due to the addition of grass, total dry matter yield (corn + grass) was similar between treatments. Intercropping also did not negatively affect corn production components and morphological characteristics. The cropping systems provided silages with good nutritive values, and the inclusion of tropical forages increased the silage fiber contents. Intercropping corn with tropical perennial grasses is a viable option for producing large quantities of silage with good nutritive value. The forage yield (silage + pasture) of these intercropping systems is similar to that of monocropped corn in tropical regions and has the advantage of providing a pasture in the off-season.
Microbiology of ensiling. Pages 31-94 in Silage Science and Technology D.R. Buxton, R.E. Muck, and J. H. Harrison ed. American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Crop Science Society of America, Inc., and Soil Science Society of American, Inc. Madison, WI.
Paul, P. A., L. V. Madden, C. A. Bradley, A. E. Robertson, G. P. Munkvold, G. Shaner, K. A. Wise, D. K. Malvick, T. W. Allen, A. Grybauskas, P. Vincelli, and P. Esker. 2011. Meta analysis of yield response of hybrid field corn to foliar fungicides in the U.S. corn belt. Phytopathology. 101:1122-1132.
recoveries. For example, the DSA procedure would recover 95 percent of the starch in finely ground corn but only 5 percent of the starch in whole shelled corn. Thus, the DSA values provide an index of the variation in degree of starch access among feeds. We (Shaver and Hoffman, 2006) reviewed eight trials in the scientific literature (Taylor and Allen, 2005; Remond et al., 2004; Oba and Allen, 2003; Crocker et al., 1998; Knowlton et al., 1998; Yu et al., 1998; Joy et al., 1997; Knowlton et al., 1996) with lactating dairy cows that reported total tract starch digestibility and particle size, moisture content, and endosperm type of the corns tested. From these data, we estimated their DSA values and evaluated the relationship between DSA and their measures of total tract starch digestibility (Figure 2). This regression equation can be applied to starch recovery values generated from the DSA assay to provide an estimate of total tract starch digestibility (termed Starch Digestibility DSA ). Starch Digestibility DSA can then be used in summative energy equations (Schwab et al., 2003; NRC, 2001) directly to calculate energy values for corn-based feeds on a standardized basis.
Analysis of probiotics, molds and yeasts growth in the silage. Chemical analysis was performed in triplicate and presented on DM basis. The DM content of the fresh materials and silages was determined by oven drying for 48 h at 60°C. Crude protein was determined by the Bradford assay. Microbiological analysis was performed on pooled samples of the three replicate silos per treatment, per time point, except for replicate samples, which differed considerably in their appearance. Microbiological evaluation included enumeration of lactobacilli on pour plate MRS agar and yeast and molds on spread- plate malt extract agar. The other data were analyzed as a completely randomized design and subjected to Excel. Differences among means were tested using Tukey’s test (Minitab software) and significance was declared at P < 0.05 (5-23).
The mechanism of effectiveness of a probiotic is closely associated with the properties of the production of strains. Lactobacillus are often found in association with plant materials, dairy products and as the dominant microbial population on forage crops and silages (15). Many studies (16, 17), have reported that the inoculation of forage with homofermentative Lactobacilli such as L. casei, L. plantarum have beneficial effects on promoting lactic acid fermentation and improving silage quality. However, the heterofermentative Weissella and Leuconostocs did not improve silage quality and may have caused some fermentation loss. In this study, we isolated Lactobacillus spp. from silage that was heterofermentative and acid tolerant bacterium. Results showed that acid tolerance of isolated Lactobacillus varied at different pHs. The isolated Lactobacillus was bile salt intolerant. Microencapsulation techniques have been successfully used to enhance distilled water (13). The microparticles were stored in
Interestingly, the decreased populations in the winter grain plots did not significantly affect silage yield. The corn variety used in the trial is categorized as a semi-flex ear type corn which compensate for low stand densities by producing larger ears, thus producing high yields despite low populations. This likely explains the observed discrepancy between populations and similar yields across treatments.
After consulting with Justin W. Waggoner, Ph.D., P.A.S, Associate Professor/Beef Systems Specialist with Kansas State Research and Extension, the key to changing the cornsilage plot into usable information for the cattle producer as well as their nutritionist will be to get each hybrid down to a simple variable that can be represented across multiple feed stuffs, the amount of energy, contained within the respective feeds. The unit of energy used by nutritionists is the Mega Calorie or Mcal. A MegaCalorie is defined as one million times larger than one calorie (Saha, et al. 2013). A calorie is defined as the smallest unit of energy required for an animal to perform a specific function (Saha, et al. 2013). In the case of this thesis, the Mcal is used to help in determining pounds of gain in beef per acre by each individual cornsilage hybrid.