We’ve all heard the benefits of brown midrib (BMR) corn silage, owing to higher digestibility. It’s presumed that feeding BMR corn silage with a high concentration of alfalfa hay will allow cows to consume more dry matter around peak lactation than they would with conventional corn silage. Can this result in longer peak milk production? Yes, it appears that way, according to a research paper in the January 2013 edition of the Journal of Dairy Science.

In an experiment, feeding BMR silage with a high concentration of alfalfa hay did maintain more bodyweight, but did not affect milk production through peak lactation. However, cows fed the BMR diet post peak lactation consumed more feed and maintained longer peak milk yield, leading to greater overall milk production and milk protein yield, researchers said. It has something to do with body fat mobilization. Feeding BMR silage in high-forage diets can have beneficial effects to lessen body fat mobilization in fresh cows without limiting dry matter intake around peak lactation, the researchers said.

Further research is needed to examine effects of feeding BMR silage on energy partitioning in transition cows with analysis of non-esterified fatty acids and beta hydroxybutyrate to determine physiological effects of BMR silage on body fat mobilization in early lactation and bodyweight gain in later lactation, they add. Read the abstract.