Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production
silage animal feed

Innovative ways to manage corn silage variability.

Posted November 02, 2021 by Dr. Joel Pankowski, Ruminant Technical Services Manager

This year, corn silage quality has been all over the map—literally. What’s happening in one field might differ completely from what’s happening one county over or even across the road. While many factors have contributed to this turn of events, including rain pattern variability and extended stretches of hot, dry days, the need to effectively manage their ultimate impact on your herd remains constant.

In the face of so much variability in corn silage quality, what can you do to ensure the feed always meets the quality and safety standards you need? How can you avoid adverse consequences on cow health and milk production? Are there innovative ways to manage the challenge and mitigate risks that go beyond simply testing feed quality or other traditional approaches?

Variability changes everything.

When weather patterns impact fields, they also negatively affect everything down the line—from harvesting and fermentation to the ultimate feed quality. Specifically, the feed tends to be drier and higher in fiber, creating digestibility and feed intake issues. This also presents an even greater threat from mycotoxins or Clostridia and other pathogens. The bottom line: corn silage variability ultimately threatens milk production and overall profitability.

Traditional ways to deal with the challenge.

Marking bags to identify the source is one way to manage things, but it’s impractical for many producers who prefer piles or bunkers. Testing for mycotoxins is another traditional way to identify what you’re dealing with. This, however, raises an important question: What is ultimately gained from testing for mycotoxins merely to confirm what you know is already there?

Innovative, research-backed approaches.

Looking for a great way to stay ahead of issues before they become full-blown problems? Explore innovative, cost-effective options like the Refined Functional Carbohydrates™ (RFCs™) found in CELMANAX™ and BG-MAX™. Adding them to the ration can help your cows take on mycotoxins and win, regardless of the feed source.

Another innovative approach is to use Targeted Microbial Solutions™ for your feed, forage and manure that impact the clostridial cycle. Bacillus-based CERTILLUS™ can help build a herd that’s prepared to face the constant pressures of an ever-changing environment by targeting specific Clostridia on your farm.

A challenging 2021 only means it’s more important than ever to know what you’re dealing with and respond accordingly. Be sure to reach out to your Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production representative for insights and tools to help you prepare your herd.




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About Dr. Joel Pankowski

Dr. Pankowski has a diverse background with animal nutrition companies including his current role as Senior Technical Services Manager at Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production where he has been since May of 2011. Dr. Pankowski earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science and dairy management from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in reproduction and epidemiology from Cornell University.



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