Corn Shredlage™ is a type of silage produced using a new technology that is generating a lot of interest in the dairy industry. Shredlage is produced by harvesting whole plant corn using an ordinary silage chopper equipped with aftermarket crop processing rolls.
The specialized processing rolls are designed to allow silage to be harvested at a greater than normal chop length while improving kernel disruption. The longer chop length results in a greater proportion of large particles and theoretically improves physically effective fiber value of silage for the lactating dairy cow.
In addition, the corn grain run through the Shredlage processor is crushed, which may improve starch digestion. Michigan has seen several choppers equipped with the Shredlage processor in the fall of 2012.
While this technology is so new that data is limited, a feeding trial was conducted at the University of Wisconsin in 2011 comparing Shredlage and kernel-processed corn silage. The same variety of corn silage was harvested either with a conventional kernel processor set with 19 mm theoretical chop length and 3 mm roll gap or with a shredlage processor set at 30 mm TLC. After one month of fermentation, 112 cows were assigned either kernel-processed corn silage or shredlage for 8 weeks.
The researchers saw an advantage for shredlage in 3.5percent fat corrected milk yield (FCMY) over the 8 weeks and a treatment by week interaction, with a significant advantage for shredlage in FCMY at week 8 (99.8 vs 95.4 lb./cow/day for shredlage vs. kernel processing, respectively). Future feeding trials should evaluate shredlage after longer fermentation times and assess the possibility of improved fiber digestibility.
If you are interested in learning more about this new way to process corn silage, attend the Michigan Forage Technology Conference sponsored by the Michigan Forage Council, Michigan State University, and Michigan State University Extension. The Conference is being held on March 7, 2013, at the Kellogg Center on the MSU campus. For registration and full agenda information, visit http://fis.msue.msu.edu/event_announcements/2013-Forage-Tech-Conf-flyer.pdf.