Be sure to examine a corn silage hybrid’s total value package to maximize cow performance and reduce feed cost — that means looking at both nutritional qualities and agronomic factors.
“To maximize yields, producers should select a hybrid that provides the maturity, standability, disease and insect resistance and drought tolerance traits needed for their area,” explains Bill Mahanna, global nutritional sciences manager with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
However, be sure to consider your ration needs, as well as the other feedstuffs that will be used in animal diets when selecting corn hybrids. If your ration consists of 50 percent to 70 percent corn silage, Mahanna recommends selecting a variety with high total plant yield, high fiber digestibility and a moderate-to-high grain content.
Also, be sure to only select hybrids that have undergone extensive agronomic and nutritional tests. Give higher priority to those varieties that have a minimum of 20 side-by-side plot comparisons over two or three years. This helps make sure that yield or nutritional differences are due to genetics, not environmental factors, maturity differences, sampling or laboratory errors.