It’s out with the old and in with the new on many dairies across the United States. Old corn silage is getting replaced with freshly cut or recently fermented corn silage. Unfortunately this change often causes a “fall slump” in milk production.
According to a recent Lallemand Animal Nutrition release, fresh silage can have lower starch digestibility… especially when harvested above 35 percent dry matter (DM). There can also be normal variances in DM, kernel processing score, and nutrient content from one silo to the next, and one year to the next.
Also, early fed silages or green chop crops are not “finished products” and contain high levels of readily fermentable carbohydrates, which can contribute to Sub Acute Ruminal Acidosis.
Bob Charley, forage products manager, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, recommends these five tips for avoiding a fall production slump:
- Allow silage to ensile for at least four months before feeding.
- Change silos gradually over a two- to four-week period.
- Test new forages for DM, kernel processing score, and nutrient content. Adjust the ration as necessary.
- Use a silage inoculant containing enzymes to help break down plant fiber, which aids in digestibility.
- Add an active dry yeast probiotic to help optimize rumen function.