More feed efficiency, more milk? Yes please. Mycogen Seeds has released Unified corn silage with SilaSoft technology to deliver unparalleled fiber digestibility combined with highly digestible starch in one hybrid.
“Unified corn silage is the next step in silage innovation. It answers the need for high fiber digestibility paired with digestible starch, which delivers real value to dairy producers,” says Rachael Christiansen, silage portfolio marketing leader for Mycogen Seeds. “Whole-plant digestibility helps increase dry matter intake, delivers more available energy and improves rumen health, which translates to more milk and better components.”
Fiber digestibility has become more accessible over the years with the development of silage-specific hybrids, such as Mycogen brand BMR. However, digestible starch, another key component in a high-performing ration, has remained elusive. For enough readily available starch in the ration, producers turn to kernel processing or to supplements that can add cost and complexity to feeding programs.
“Unified corn silage changes the game,” says Jim Henry, dairy development manager for Mycogen Seeds. “It gives producers the option to build a high-forage ration with both high neutral detergent fiber digestibility and digestible starch for better results with the same inputs. That means better feed efficiency, which makes a big impact on the bottom line.”
In 2015, the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute conducted a feeding trial with Unified corn silage. Results showed a 7 percent increase in feed efficiency compared with non-BMR hybrids as well as an advantage of 10.1 pounds more energy-corrected milk per cow per day. Findings also showed a 7 percent increase in butterfat and 13 percent increase in protein compared with non-BMR hybrids.
“Through the research, we saw the advantage of having a product that combines both fiber and starch digestibility into one product,” says Rick Grant, president of the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, which specializes in dairy cattle nutrition research. “Producers should be able to feed higher-forage diets, have more flexibility in how they formulate rations and feed the rumen more efficiently.”
Dairy producers across the country also participated in on-farm trials to grow and feed Unified corn silage in 2016 and 2017 and reiterated the advantages of feeding a corn silage with a combination of high fiber and starch digestibility.
“We need to make sure we can get the maximum amount of milk production for every acre we have. With Unified, we immediately saw an increase in milk production, and we experienced better feed efficiency,” says Ron Gibson, a Utah dairy producer who trialed Unified last year. “When you can get more production out of the exact same inputs, you’re so much better off.”
John Koepke, a dairy producer in Wisconsin, also trialed the new product with similar results. “We began feeding Unified after only six weeks of fermentation,” Koepke says. “We saw a significant fat-corrected milk increase of 4 to 5 pounds as well as better feed efficiency compared to our BMR.”
Beyond whole-plant digestibility and increased milk production, the softer kernel in Unified corn silage offers advantages during harvest, in storage and at the feed bunk.
“Because it is the only product with SilaSoft technology, which delivers a softer kernel than other corn hybrids, Unified is more forgiving at harvest and allows for a wider harvest window,” Henry says. “It also enables earlier feed-out since the softer kernel requires less fermentation time. Producers are seeing positive results when feeding just six weeks after harvest. That is a big advantage when managing inventory.”
Developed by and available only from Mycogen, Unified corn silage hybrids are available in limited quantities for spring 2018 planting with additional hybrids available for the 2018-19 season.