Korona Dairy, Perth, NY
Korona Dairy milks 120 registered cows. The herd averages 75 pounds on 2x milking and runs on average 4.4% Butterfat and 3.4% milk protein. The members of the dairy strive to push profitability through being early adapters of new technology and are always pushing to produce the highest quality, most digestible feed possible.
During the cropping season of 2013 the dairy grew the Masters Choice corn variety MC4560. The weather did not allow for all of the acres to be planted, so the dairy purchased two months of corn silage (Doebler’s hybrid) from a neighbor. The silage was purchased in January and February to allow it time to ferment as well as minimize the chance of spoilage. A preliminary sample was taken of the corn to be purchased and the numbers on paper looked very similar to the MC4560 being fed at the home dairy.
Using the purchased silage, the diet was adjusted for dry matter to maintain the 18 pounds of dry matter in the diet from corn silage. The immediate result was a loss of 7 pounds of milk within the first 48 hours of feeding the purchased corn silage. The wet chemistry 24 hour NDFD and 7 hour starch digestibility analysis revealed the root of the problem. The purchased silage had 6 points lower starch digestibility and 5 points lower fiber digestibility despite having been fermented for 5 months. In order to maintain the same level of milk production when feeding the purchased silage, an additional 2.5 pounds of cornmeal had to be fed. This was an additional 26 cents/head cost to the dairy over and above the cost of purchasing the corn silage. The dairy’s fat and milk protein also decreased during the months on the purchased forage. The difference was in the check book.
High Tower Farms, Broadalbin, NY
High Tower Farms LLC was a Pioneer-only farm for many years. They had always had above average yields for their area due to the management of their cropping program. In the spring of 2012 they were first introduced to Masters Choice and agreed to grow 20 acres of Masters Choice to compare 527 and 535 against their favorite Pioneer hybrids.
The Masters Choice hybrids looked healthier right from the start with a more robust stalk and brighter green color that sustained all season long. All the corn on the farm was subjected to drought-like conditions for most of the later part of the growing season. At harvest the crops were measured by a certified crop adjuster and scaled for yields. The Masters Choice corn yielded 20.6 tons to the acre as silage and 196 bushel as shell corn. This was 2.5 ton/acre more than the Pioneer hybrids planted on the same farm.
The real test was when the dairy began feeding the harvested crop. The Masters Choice corn was stored in Ag bags and kept separate from the Pioneer silage. The new crop was fed after November to ensure proper fermentation. The cows gained 8 pounds of milk when they were fed the Masters Choice silage vs. the Pioneer. Both of the silages looked to well done and full of grain, but the difference was noticed in the manure. The farmer commented about Masters Choice silage, “There just isn’t any corn being wasted in the manure. The 7 Hour Starch analysis explained the why. The Masters Choice corn measured 85% digestible starch while the Pioneer hybrids were only 76% available after 4 months of being ensiled.
High Tower Dairy LLC now grows Masters Choice corn exclusively and has enjoyed increased milk production for the past two years. The dairy was able to disperse 20% of the milking herd and still maintain the same pounds of milk sold a day due to increased milk production. You can’t get more efficient than that!