This year has been a challenging growing season depending upon your geographical location with weather conditions. The drought has affected many areas with very low yields and stressed corn this past summer. In Central PA, there was a substantial amount of corn silage harvested with little to no grain. Not only will there be a variation in dry matters, but also available starch content and digestibility within this years corn silage. Testing for dry matter and adjusting for it will have to be done often in order to maintain a consistent ration regardless of the kind of structure it is stored in. Another major component of why we feed corn silage is the starch level. With the wide variety of corn hybrids in conjunction with the weather, it will contribute majorly to the variation of starch levels within the corn silage. Another concern that cannot be neglected is molds and mycotoxins. Typically drought stressed corn is very susceptible to the growth of mycotoxins. Issues such as these can affect not only production, but breeding and health of the cows. So in short, Always “READ” the cow. Her body condition, production, components and behavior tell us much more than we as humans sometimes realize.
by Russ Kline, P.A.S. Agri-Basics, Inc Nutritionist