Earlier this year, John Koepke, dairy producer from Oconomowoc, Wis., participated in a BMR corn silage webinar hosted by Dairy Herd Management. With harvest season approaching, here is his advice on chopping brown midrib corn silage:
• Wait for the corn plants to be dry enough. Often times, but not always, this could be two to three weeks after conventional corn hybrids.
• Use an appropriate length of cut. Koepke uses a ¾-inch cut. “(This length of cut) is kind of a compromise between adequate rumen function in the cow, as well as being able to get the crop processed effectively,” he says. “I’ve made very good BMR silage at 1-inch length of cut, but I spend a lot of time fixing the kernel processor on the chopper.”
• Be patient with moisture, and if it’s too wet, stop chopping. “You will not be happy with any silage product that’s put in too wet and oftentimes BMR can be very slow to dry down,” Koepke says.
• Watch moisture levels during ensiling. Koepke has found that the moisture level of BMR corn silage going into bags should be 65 to 70 percent, and 60 to 65 percent for upright silos.
• Use a kernel processor when ensiling in upright silos. “BMR will typically be ¾-plus milkline when it’s dry enough for tower silos,” Koepke says. Processing the silage gives you the best of both worlds in terms of fiber digestibility and starch digestibility.
Click here for a recording of the webinar.