Effect of length of cut and kernel processing on nutrient utilization of corn silage by lactating dairy cows
Cooke, Kelly Michelle
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Mechanical processing of corn silage has been shown to improve starch concentrations and digestibility and milk yield in dairy cattle as chop length increases. The objective of this research was to determine the degree of mechanical processing of corn silage needed to improve animal production as chop length increases. Corn silage was harvested at 3/4 milk line stage of maturity and at two theoretical lengths of cut of 1.90-cm and 2.54-cm. At each chop length, silage was processed at two degrees of kernel processing of 2 and 8-mm roll clearance. Milk yield tended to be higher for cows fed diets containing processed corn silage compared to unprocessed corn silage. Dry matter, crude protein, starch, neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber digestibilities were all improved with mechanical processing. These results indicate that processing corn silage as chop length increases can improve starch digestibility and milk yield in lactating dairy cows.