To take full advantage of the benefits of feeding brown midrib (BMR) corn silage, it’s important to manage it properly. That means planning ahead – even before the first BMR seed goes into the ground.
“Growing BMR corn silage benefits producers with higher digestibility, increased milk production and feed grain savings,” says Phil Krueger, Mycogen Seeds dairy nutritionist. “However, it’s important to understand how BMR fits your operation and plan how you will feed it for best results.”
Krueger offers these suggestions before planting BMR:
- Consult with your herd nutritionist to review feeding guidelines.
- Predict the impact BMR silage can have on milk production, grain savings and dry matter intake by asking your nutritionist to formulate a sample diet.
- Understand the differences between BMR and conventional corn silage, such as lower lignin levels and higher digestibility. Consider how these differences will affect herd management.
- Determine how you will feed BMR silage for the greatest return on investment. High-producing cows show the most dramatic response so choose those groups first if you are able to feed BMR to only part of the herd.
- Plan for additional acreage and storage, if necessary. Due to the higher intake of BMR corn silage, tonnage needs will increase 20 to 40 percent if fed to the entire herd. If fed only to early lactation cows, tonnage requirements will increase 8 to 10 percent.
- Consider how you will store BMR corn silage. Although BMR can be mixed with conventional corn silage in the ration, it is best to store it separately. Note that bottom-unloading storage structures are not recommended for BMR.