A new kind of corn silage, called Shredlage, may produce more milk than processed corn silage, says Randy Shaver, the University of Wisconsin Extension dairy nutritionist who ran a recent feeding trial comparing the two feeds.
“For a one-shot trial, it looked pretty encouraging in terms of milk production. We did see a trend for some higher intake (with Shredlage), and we did see increased energy-corrected and fat-corrected milk.”
Shaver had nine acres of silage corn chopped at 30 mm as Shredlage, which is shredded using an attachment that takes the place of a kernel processor in a forage harvester. It was then bagged, fed to half of the cows in a 112-cow trial and compared to corn silage chopped at 19 mm with a kernel processor and fed to the rest of the cows in the study.
The study was done in cooperation with nutritionist Roger Olson, Baldwin, WI, one of the developers of the processor replacement. The attachment at this point only fits newer-model Claas forage harvesters, and is manufactured by Scherer Corrugating and Design, which makes processors for Claas. Plans are in the works to adapt the replacement for older Claas machines – and, eventually, other chopper brands.
The Shredlage response increased strength as the feeding trial progressed. “If you look at the graph, you can see as you go from week two to four to six to eight, the production spread kept increasing,” says Shaver. “The cows on the Shredlage maintained better persistency of lactation.”
More research is needed, he adds. He’d like to see Shredlage’s effective fiber value compared to that of crops such as hay, haylage and straw.
The price of the attachment: $29,200. But it’s unknown whether the tool is cost-effective, how available it will be for use in other harvester models and what custom harvesters will charge producers who want Shredlage, Shaver says.