Shave was asked to talk about his 2011 feeding trial at a half-day session on Shredlage at the U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., (USCHI) Convention in early March.

His experiment compared Shredlage chopped at a 30-mm length of cut and 2.5-mm roll gap to corn silage conventionally chopped at 19 mm and a 2- to 3-mm roll gap.

He reported a trend toward increased dry matter intake and that total tract dietary starch and NDF digestibility were greater for cows fed Shredlage. Kernel processing (KP) scores, which measure available starch, were 75% for Shredlage rolls fitted to a newer-model Claas chopper vs. 60% for conventionally cut corn silage chopped by an older harvester.

Many people have questioned why he didn’t chop the corn silage with a newer-model chopper that could potentially do a better job processing kernels, he told the nearly 200 harvesters and industry representatives attending the meeting.

“What we were trying to do was compare it (the Shredlage KP score) to the average we see in the industry.”

That average was based on forage sample data collected over several years from three well-known forage analysis labs. The data showed that only 10-17% of corn silage samples were considered to have “excellent” KP scores of more than 70%, in which 70% or more starch would be available to the cow.

Half or more of the samples averaged in the “adequate” range, showing KP scores from 50% to 70%, and the rest of the samples were rated “poor,” with KP scores at less than 50%.

KP scores are determined after labs dry and put silage samples through a series of shaker screens. The material left on the coarse top screen is analyzed for starch.

“They’re looking for the percent of starch that is coarse vs. the percent of starch that is fine and passes through the screen,” Shaver explained.