Feed Lot

SEP-OCT 2018

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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32 FEED•LOT September/October 2018 and clearance between the process- ing rolls is important when using a kernel processor. Particle size influences digestibility. To obtain optimal digestibility, re- searchers found that approximately 90 percent of the particles should be between 0.31 and 0.75 inch. Kernel processing equipment on choppers can ensure that a greater proportion of particles falls into the ideal range. The equipment breaks down large pieces of cob and stalk, helping achieve an ideal particle size and enhancing silage compaction. Meehan and Dahlen advise that prior to harvest, producers should select a location for the silage pile and determine the proper pile size. Factors to consider when select- ing a location include: • Drainage • Distance to water well • Snow movement/drifting • Distance to feeding area • Space to maneuver equipment • Ability to exclude livestock and wildlife Dahlen recommends keeping the silage face as straight as possible and removing at least 6 inches of silage from the entire face of the pile on a daily basis. Producers can use this concept to determine the ap- propriate dimensions of silage piles. "Corn silage can provide a high-quality feed for livestock if it is harvested and ensiled properly," Meehan says. "Careful planning of the harvest, pile size and location, and feeding management can en- sure quality and reduce the amount of silage lost due to spoilage. "Considering the high variability in quality due to harvest conditions, harvest methods and ensiling meth- ods, we recommend that producers test forage quality to ensure they are meeting animals' nutritional requirement," she adds. FL Growing conditions have been ideal for corn in several parts of North Dakota this year, and many livestock producers are preparing to produce corn silage. "Even under ideal conditions, dry-matter losses between the time that corn is harvested and when the silage is consumed by animals can approach 15 percent," cautions North Dakota State Uni - versity Extension livestock envi- ronmental stewardship specialist Miranda Meehan. "With poor harvest and manage- ment, these losses can be in excess of 50 percent," she notes. "There- fore, proper harvest and manage- ment are important to ensure you are maximizing the amount of good-quality silage available for feeding your livestock." Harvesting corn silage at the appropriate moisture level is key to getting proper fermentation for preservation and forage quality, according to Carl Dahlen, an asso- ciate professor in NDSU's Animal Sciences Department. Moisture levels outside of the ideal range will lead to improper fermentation, which can impact packing and feed loss through spoilage. Traditional indicators of when to start chopping silage, such as when corn reaches the 50 percent milk line, can be deceiving with different silage hybrids. Dahlen and Meehan recommend producers harvest based on whole-plant dry matter. For bunkers and piles, they recommend a moisture content of 60 to 70 percent. "If you are utilizing a custom harvester, it is important to keep the harvester updated on the status of your crop so it can be harvested at optimal conditions," Dahlen says. When harvesting, having the chopper set at the proper length Corn Can Make Good Silage MANAGEMENT

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