One of the issues that have increasingly concerned producers in recent years has been how to cost-effectively supply their cows with adequate amounts of effective fiber. Mechanically disrupted corn silage, such as Shredlage® Brand Silage, is one option that has attracted considerable interest. Shredlage LLC based in Tea, S.D., developed the Shredlage processor, which allows a longer chop length to be set and tears, or shreds, the stalks and leaves, while efficiently crushing kernels.
“Corn silage produced using a Shredlage processor has a greater proportion of longer stalk and leaf material,” says Bob Charley, Ph.D., Forage Products Manager, Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “When used in rations for lactating dairy cows, this can increase the physically effective neutral detergent fiber (peNDF) content of the ration, which is important for proper rumen function, and can be used to reduce the demand for bought-in hay or straw.”
In addition, a feeding trial at the University of Wisconsin — Madison showed that dairy cows fed Shredlage tended to produce 3.5% more fat-corrected milk compared to cows fed conventionally processed corn silage.
However, the added benefits in higher peNDF and milk production must be protected with careful ensiling. No large scale studies to date have specifically addressed preservation and feedout stability, but some producers have asked if there might be specific ensiling challenges resulting from the more open structure of the material ensiled, Charley says.
“One question being asked is how well this type of material is going to preserve,” he says. “The more open structure may trap more air, resulting in a slower upfront fermentation. This open structure could also allow air to come back into the silage mass and affect stability during feedout.”
Adding a silage inoculant proven to help maximize quality and stability from field to feedout may help producers manage the unique challenges of mechanically disrupted corn silage. Producers should look for an inoculant that can enhance front-end fermentation and maximize aerobic stability, Charley advises.
Inoculants containing bacteria strains like Pediococcus pentosaceus 12455 and Lactobacillus buchneri 40788 have been proven to address both challenges. L. buchneri 40788 found in Biotal® Buchneri 500 has even been FDA-reviewed in preventing heating and spoilage.
“Including proven strains can maximize feed retention, quality and stability,” Charley says. “This helps protect a producer’s silage investment and retain feed hygiene. The value of incorporating a new process, such as Shredlage, at harvest will only deliver the desired improved milk production and greater feeding flexibility if the crop is ensiled correctly and feedout is stable.”