For livestock producers, harvesting corn as high-moisture grain or earlage are good options because they eliminate grain drying costs and produce a product that makes excellent feed for ruminant animals, says Greg Lardy, head of North Dakota State University’s Animal Sciences Department.
High-moisture corn means the crop is harvested at 24 percent or greater moisture, stored and allowed to ferment in a silo or other storage structure, then used as feed for livestock. It is similar in energy and protein content to dry corn.
Earlage is ensiled corn grain, cobs and, depending on the harvest method, husks and a portion of the stalk. It can be harvested using the same types of equipment for producing corn silage, and it’s stored and fed much like corn silage.
Earlage also can refer to ensiled corn grain, cobs, husks, shanks and a portion of the stalk harvested with an all-crop header raised to a height at which the ear and stalk material above the shank is harvested
It is higher in energy than corn silage and has similar protein content, but it has lower energy than dry or high-moisture corn grain, says Vern Anderson, animal scientist at NDSU’s Carrington Research Extension Center. Earlage works well in a variety of cattle diets, including growing and finishing diets for beef cattle and feed for lactating dairy cows.
Source: North Dakota State University