How Much Corn Siloage to Feed a Calf

how much corn silage to feed a dairy cow

When deciding how much corn silage to feed a calf, you should consider the energy, grain, Lignon, and NDF contents of each type. These will help you determine the right ration for your cow. Considering the costs of supplementary feed, corn silage is the most cost-effective winter ration for a dairy cow. Read on to discover the best options. Listed below are some tips on how to calculate the correct amount for your dairy cows.

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Energy content

The energy content of corn silage for dairy cows is high, so it should only be used as part of a limited diet. This type of forage is very high in protein and must be supplemented with other forms of forage that are lower in energy. For example, feeding corn silage to heifers will result in uneven body condition. It is best to limit the corn silage intake to about one-third of the total forage in the ration.

Lignon content

A dairy farmer may be concerned about how much corn silage to feed a dairy cattle, but a simple analysis shows that this food source contains about seven to eight percent crude protein. This amount of protein supports up to 10 gallons of milk per day. While corn silage is a valuable feed source, dairy farmers should consider the time of harvest, the hybrid selection, and grouping and feed allocation. The breakdown of the corn grain during storage and processing are also important considerations when choosing a corn silage diet for dairy cattle.

NDF content

In the recent past, some dairy farmers have been experimenting with how much corn silage to feed their dairy cows. One study published in J. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 109:1-18 shows that higher corn silage levels in dairy cow rations reduce purchased feed costs and stabilize rations. These higher levels of corn silage also increase forage production on limited acres.

Grain content

The energy content of corn silage for dairy cows varies depending on the animal. For instance, a steer consuming corn silage at maintenance intake will have higher energy intake than a high-producing dairy cow. However, the accuracy of energy prediction decreases as corn silage dries out. Because many of the corn kernels pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, corn silage contains low starch digestibility. The energy content of corn silage ranges from 62 to 74% TDN and 0.64 to 0.75 mcal/lb NEL depending on its dry matter.

Moisture content

To determine the moisture content of corn silage for dairy cows, you must first calculate the amount of dry matter in the plant. If the silage is too wet, it will not ferment properly and will lose nutrients due to seepage. If the silage is too dry, it may mold and spoil, and it may not be as digestible. You should not use the stover portion of the plant as it contains lower levels of sugar and vitamin A. A scale is needed to measure this moisture content.


A common question asked by dairy farmers is the cost of corn silage for dairy cows. In this article, we’ll examine the cost of corn silage for dairy cows in four different scenarios. The most common scenario involves a standing crop harvested at 60 to 70 percent whole plant moisture. The optimal harvest occurs when the kernels are half-way between the milk line and the black layer. The price of corn silage is calculated using the rate of return plus input costs.


While corn silage is generally cheaper than wheat silage, it may improve the quality of dairy cow diets in areas where rainfall is short. However, all silages are not created equal. Dr. Ellen Jordan, a Texas AgriLife Extension dairy specialist, says that forage feeds play important roles in beef and dairy diets. For example, roughage feeds are good for a number of reasons, including stimulating rumination to improve feed breakdown and reducing acidosis. In short, sorghum is an excellent alternative to corn silage for dairy cows in dry areas, as it uses water more efficiently than corn and produces higher biomass yields.