2017 Corn silage: 3 things you should know

Corn silage for both beef and dairy fluctuates between 8-10% of the total corn acres in the US: This year’s corn silage can be expected not to be typical, due to challenging weather conditions that prevailed across different states in 2017.

High variability in quality. Depending on the state, severe drought, heat stress or wet conditions will have a great impact on the quality of 2017 corn silage

Extra sampling is recommended. Due to high variability in the quality of corn silage, producers need to take extra samples after fermentation to track quality levels and the amounts of digestible starch (target for starch content over 30 percent), 30-hour neutral detergent fiber digestibility (target over 55 percent) and 30-hour undigested neutral detergent fiber (target under 45 percent).

In addition to testing for quality and starch, tests should also include mycotoxin analysis due to the higher risk of contamination in 2017 corn silage. Testing results can help when building plans to optimize the crop and the ration.

Check out this video for tips on how to prepare a representative silage sample.

Video on preparing representative silage samples

High levels of mycotoxins have already been reported in 2017 corn in several states in the US. DON levels > 5ppm have been reported in South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania corn, whereas aflatoxin levels greater than 100ppb have been reported in Georgia, Texas, North Dakota, Nebraska and Oklahoma. According to the 2003 USDA Crop Production Report, the top ten corn silage producing states are: WI, NY, CA, PA, MN, IA, SD, NE and ID.

For an update on Mycotoxins in 2017 crops and technical information on how cows adapt to DON please watch the video below.