Sally Flis, Ph.D. – Feed and Crop Support Specialist

It is that time of year again, corn silage harvest in the Northeast! The rainfall in the New York and Pennsylvania was highly variable across the states. So far in September we have analyzed over 600 fresh corn silage samples from NY and PA.

Fresh Corn Silage Analysis NY and PA, September 2015 and 2016

StateDM, %CP,
% DM
ADF,
% DM
aNDF,
% DM
aNDFd30,
% DM
Starch,
% DM
Starch
Dig.,
% Starch
Ash,
% DM
NY 2016
(n=447)
33.6 ± 4.58.6 ± 0.922.1 ± 3.139.2 ± 4.359.3 ± 5.234.6 ± 5.757.8 ± 10.43.8 ± 0.8
PA 2016
(n=150)
36.0 ± 5.78.1 ± 1.022.1 ± 3.239.8 ± 3.161.3 ± 5.437.2 ± 5.259.1 ± 10.53.7 ± 0.8
NY 2015
(n=347)
34.2 ± 5.97.3 ± 0.924.6 ± 3.242.8 ± 4.652.6 ± 3.333.6 ± 6.164.7 ± 10.33.6 ± 0.8
PA 2015
(n=173)
33.2 ± 5.56.6 ± 1.125.3 ± 3.243.8 ± 4.750.2 ± 2.833.8 ± 5.166.1 ± 7.43.4 ± 1.0

Starch values are up from what we saw in September of 2015 and higher than the 14 year average, 33.1+/- 7.8 % DM. Higher starch concentrations in 2016 are going to be influenced by the drought conditions experienced in much of NY and PA resulting in shorter plants with larger ears. Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) is lower than in September of 2015. Again, these are likely driven by drought conditions and shorter plants. Following this, the aNDFd30, % NDF was higher this September than in September 2015. Harvest DM is in the ideal range for storage in horizontal bunkers, bags, and top loading upright silos (http://bit.ly/1PgHNs5).

Corn silage harvested in NY and PA in 2016 is going to store and feed differently than in 2015. Higher starch concentrations could change how fermentation happens. Starch digestibility increases during storage.   Even though we are seeing lower starch digestibility at harvest this year the amount of starch in the diet will be similar. Starch digestibility increases in the bunk over time and starch in the diet could become a problem for rumen health and animal performance.

Lower aNDF, %DM and higher digestibility will also create a need to monitor total diet NDF concentration closely. Couple that with the higher starch concentrations and 2016 corn silage should make milk, but will need to be monitored to avoid rumen acidosis problems from developing.

2016-cs-pic