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Cornell professional dairy products researchers released the results of a two-year project to study the factors that affect the efficiency of shredding.
The corn kernels are chopped to release the starch needed by the cows to provide energy. The efficiency of the shredder is determined by shaking the dried silage sample through a 4.75 mm sieve (shaker box) and analyzing the starch content of the dropped portion. The percentage of failures is the corn silage processing score, also known as the kernel processing score (KPS).
David Mertens developed this CSPS screening process at the Dairy Feed Research Center of the United States Department of Agriculture in Madison, Wisconsin. A score greater than 70 is an indicator of the best feed quality; a score less than 50 requires attention to the chopper.
Joe Lawrence is a Cornell professional dairy feed system expert. He led a New York farm viability funded project to understand hybrid characteristics-such as ear to stalk ratio, whole plant dry matter, and ear dry matter (DM )-How to affect chopper's ability to handle the kernel correctly.
"This project does not indicate that any type of hybrid is better or worse. It does emphasize the need to pay close attention to the type of hybrid and the maturity stage at harvest to ensure successful processing," Lawrence said.
"The plant-wide DM has no significant effect on CSPS. However, the effect of ear DM is significant," he said. "The type of hybrid has a significant impact on the ear-stalk ratio, but the data shows that the growth environment and location will affect the degree of this difference between hybrids, and can explain 10-15% of the unit change in CSPS.
"Although the whole plant DM is used to determine the harvest time index, the higher ear dry DM is very important as an indicator of grain maturity. The total starch content increases as the grain matures, which is related to the quality of the grain processing."
Farmers and custom harvesters should adjust or upgrade the shredder components according to their choices and local conditions, and then make adjustments later in the corn dry season.
The project also assessed how corn silage processing scores are affected by starch digestibility. The samples were fermented for 135 days for analysis.
"We know that fermentation increases the digestibility of starch. That's why we recommend letting corn silage ferment for three to four months before feeding," Lawrence said. "In the past few years, some data has shown that CSPS has also improved during fermentation. This project provides a larger data set to assess whether the degree of damage to the core during silage affects the change in processing scores during fermentation.
"The results show that CSPS occasionally changes during fermentation; however, this change is not consistent or significant. The lack of a relationship between fermentation time and CSPS changes indicates that CSPS needs to be within the target range at harvest."
"Participation in this processing research played a role in our decision to grow shorter day-long corn," said Shawn Bossard, manager of the Morrisville Dairy Complex at the State University of New York (SUNY).
The College Farm grows corn on approximately 170 acres of its 500 acres to feed its 130 dairy cows.
"Even though our BMR corn silage won the Super Bowl Feed Award, we were frustrated that the harvest was not completed until the end of September to early October, and the weather did not allow us to fertilize or plant cover crops later. We needed something that could adapt to us. Hybrids at high altitudes and less than ideal growing seasons," he said. "We want the best forage, we can feed our cows. The processing project provides us with a comfortable level, and the short-day corn we choose can be processed and fed well."
Farm staff and students grow, but hire custom harvests through the Dairy Support Services Company (DSSC) in Truxton, NY
"Knowing the importance of cutting grass efficiency, we want a service that can be the same as our interest in harvesting high-quality forage," he said. "DSSC has a paper shredder and is willing to stop to check the quality of the processing and adjust the equipment if needed."
This fall, the seed representatives of the college used the shaker box method to inspect the silage before the DCCS completed the felling of the first field. The fodder scored well and was in subsequent inspections.
Scott Potter runs Dairy Support Services Co. with his brother Dan and his nephews Doug and Matt. They provide custom planting, hay, silage, and high-moisture corn harvesting and fertilization in central New York State. Scott is a certified crop consultant.
The company operates two shredders, both equipped with shredder processors. They harvested on the three farms participating in the project. Doug and Ma will conduct a visual inspection of the quality of the chopped pieces and work with farmers, nutritionists and crop planners to stop for shaker or other tests.
"It only takes a few minutes to stop and check the quality of the ribs. It's worth the time to understand if the equipment is working properly and the ribs are the cow the customer wants," Matt said.
Lawrence said there are several ways to screen samples on-site to adjust equipment on the fly. However, only laboratory tests can provide accurate scores of chopper efficiency.
“We like to participate in Cornell University’s field research and often test equipment for brand manufacturers to see firsthand how different applications and processes can promote our understanding and make our services better for our customers and our business. Efficient," Scott said.
Part of the motivation for this research came from a 2014 study by Larry Chase, a professor of animal science at Cornell University. Chase's research found that of 1,131 corn silage samples, 42% were improperly handled.
As part of this new work, Lawrence conducted a small survey of corn silage growers in the northeastern United States to obtain an overview of the industry using corn kernel processing technology. Here are some highlights:
A series of four information sheets prepared by Lawrence and Ph.D. Candidate Allison Kerwin can be found at prodairy.cals.cornell.edu. The research team continues to collect and evaluate data, including economic data, and the return on investment of grain processing technology for silage management.
For more information, please contact Lawrence at [email protected].
Dunn writes on her farm in Mansville, New York
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