Will Forage Quality Hurt Milk Production Next Year?

“It is still early in the process and nutritionists are still balancing rations and making adjustments, and corn silage is still fermenting,” he notes. ( Sonja Begemann )

The wacky growing season meant the quality of forages this year varies widely. While it’s too soon to know just how poor forage quality is, early reports indicate there could be issues ahead. 

According to Mark Linzmeier, president of MARGINSMART, some dairy farmers in the Midwest and Northeast are seeing drops of 5 to 8 lb. of milk per cow per day as they tap into new crop forages, especially corn silage.

“It is still early in the process and nutritionists are still balancing rations and making adjustments, and corn silage is still fermenting,” he notes.

Bill Mahanna, global nutritional sciences manager for Pioneer says 2019 forage quality could mean cow diets are short on starch. 

“In the old days, nutritionists used to recommend that silage be harvested at 30% to 32% dry matter, or 68% to 70% moisture,” Mahanna says. “This corn silage dry matter range would correspond to a milk line about a third of the way down the kernel.”

Time will tell how much forage quality will impact milk production.

To learn more, read the following stories:

Diet Deep Dive: Will Starch be in Short Supply?

New Crop Corn Silage Milking Poorly

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