Maximising starch feeds on farm this winter

With the global picture for corn availability this coming winter looking questionable, this winter it will become more important than ever to maximise starch which you have available to you on farm, most likely via your maize silage.

Earlier this year we saw US farmers struggling to get their corn crops in the ground after widespread flooding hit the key growing regions, forcing them to miss the critical planting window. Reports currently suggest that US corn production could be down by as much as 1.4 billion bushels, their lowest levels since 2015.

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If you then look at other potential sources to fill the deficit created in the US like the Black Sea region, here crops have experienced heat damage. Although crops across Europe are still expected to yield above their 5 year average, there will still ultimately be a short fall with the use of maize and maize based products in animal feed continuing to rise.

Bartholomews can offer a wide range of silage inoculants to help you maximise the feed values of all varieties of your on farm silage, reducing dry matter losses from spoiling and heating.

Pioneer 11C33 to treat your maize silage comes in at a cost of £1.40 per tonne treated. The unique formulation will aid fermentation of the whole plant, meaning you will be maximising the sugars available, improve fibre digestibility and help stabilise temperatures, reducing dry matter losses.

To achieve the best nutritional results maize should be harvested at the optimum dry matter (DM) content of 30-33%.

Lactobacillus bacteria proliferate in drier conditions, this enables silage stabilisation to be achieved quicker resulting in higher levels of residual sugars. Below 30% DM; Lactobacillus bacteria must generate higher levels of lactic acid to stabilise the silage, to achieve this they must consume more sugars which results in a nutritionally poorer and more acidic silage. Furthermore; Clostridia bacteria prefer these wetter environments and instead of lactic they produce butyric acid, this is a weaker acid which prevents silage stabilisation enhancing the risk of silage deterioration and DM losses.

Additionally; clamp consolidation is burdened when maize is harvested above 33% DM, this facilitates oxygen contamination causing silage deterioration and DM losses.

Working example:

A 45t/ha maize crop at 30% DM will yield 13.5t DM/ha. Losing only 1% of this DM equates to 135kg DM.

In a diet containing 25kg/cow/day of fresh maize silage, 135kg DM would feed 18 cows. At 30litres/cow and 28ppl, this is the equivalent to losing £151.20/day. Over a 180day winter this equates to a potential loss of £27,216.

DM losses will increase the further it deviates from the 30-33% recommended range. Achieving silage stability and maximising nutritional value is thus of paramount importance and can be achieved with the aid of Pioneer 11C33