Corn silage is one of the best cattle feeds, and a beef cow can eat up to 50 lbs of it a day. It should contain less than 30 percent moisture and be rich in nutrients. It helps increase the milk production and beef production of cows. Dairy farmers can also reap the benefits of feeding corn silage to their cattle.
Processing corn silage improves starch digestibility
Researchers have studied the effects of processing corn silage to improve starch digestibility in beef cows. In one study, cows fed processed corn silage exhibited better milk production and more DM in their feces than cows fed U-BMR silage. The study also found that the fecal pH of processed cows was higher than U-BMR cows. This may be due to better digestion of starch in the hindgut and rumen.
The amount of soluble protein in corn silage affects starch digestibility. Moreover, grain moisture can also influence starch digestibility. Corn silage that contains a high moisture content (more than 1.125 inches) is more digestible than corn silage that is less moist. The increase in digestibility is most pronounced during the first thirty to forty-five days of storage. It will gradually increase over the remaining storage period.
Corn plants have an increase in lignin content with maturity. Therefore, it is important to target corn silage with the proper maturity level. However, corn silage that has reached greater maturity may limit starch digestibility. This is because yeasts from spoiled corn silage can reduce the capacity of the rumen microbes to break down NDF.
It reduces feed costs
Feeding corn silage to beef cows is a smart way to reduce feed costs. The grain costs are often high, making silage the most affordable source of total digestible nutrients. At seventy-five percent TDN, corn silage costs just nine cents per pound.
Corn silage is also cheaper per unit of dry matter than hay, which makes it an excellent choice for beef cows. This feeding strategy is particularly beneficial during the lactation season when cows require high energy and protein levels to support lactation. The ration must be tailored to the cow’s needs and available space.
Corn silage can also be fed to replacement heifers. Heifers have lower energy requirements during growth and are allowed to eat corn silage from six to 12 months of age. It’s important to monitor energy intake closely, as this can cause excessive fat accumulation. In addition, unrestricted corn silage feeding can result in fatty infiltration in the udder. Furthermore, this method is less feasible for group-housed heifers, since aggressive animals may get more than their fair share.
It replaces 30 to 45% of the corn grain in finishing rations
The use of corn silage as a feed ingredient in beef cow finishing rations has many advantages. Its high fiber content provides the beef cattle with a steady supply of energy and nutrients. It also allows cows to eat smaller amounts of grain each day. It is also easy to prepare and maintain.
It is possible to feed beef cows 30 to 45% corn silage instead of corn grain in finishing rations. However, this practice has its downsides. The amount of silage varies and may lead to lower feed efficiency. In one study, silage replaced 35% of the corn grain in finishing rations. In another study, corn silage replaced up to 40% of the corn grain in rations.
Corn silage is highly digestible in the rumen. In addition to being an excellent source of energy, corn silage also provides ruminal stability. It is also well-mixed with other ingredients in finishing rations.
It increases milk production
Corn silage is a great way to increase milk production for beef cows. It is also a great source of energy. It can be fed to heifers, which has the added benefit of reducing the energy required to grow. A ration that contains corn silage can increase milk production by about 15%.
Fiber content of corn silage is a key factor in milk production. While the total digestibility of corn silage can be altered by increasing the grain content, fiber digestibility is difficult to adjust. Increased fiber digestibility is most effective in high-producing cows early in lactation, when their drymatter and energy demands are the highest.
However, a silage ration that contains too much moisture can lead to poor digestion. In addition, it can lead to nutrient loss through seepage. To avoid these problems, corn silage should have an ideal moisture content. The correct moisture content for a ration is 3.5 to 4.3. Its lactic acid content should be between four and six percent. It should also be low in acetic acid. In addition, the amount of nitrogen in corn silage should not exceed five percent.