Fibre Digestibility

With over 50% of the energy in maize coming from the plant itself, not the cob, the digestibility of the fibrous fraction of a
maize plant is critical to the performance in the ration. The fibre fraction of maize silage plays a vital part in maintaining rumen function and total microbial yield. The more digestible it is, the higher the microbial yield and energy output. When maize makes up a large part of a dairy cow ration, the difference between high and low levels of fibre digestibility can make a significance difference towards the energy contribution from maize. More lignified maize silages – a result of late harvest or poor variety selection – will result in less microbial activity, with the rumen microbes having to work harder for less energy.

Starch Degradability

Maize is a superior starch source for dairy rations. As we constantly look to improve effi ciency of milk production, having high quality starch that can be fed safely to maximise rumen microbial production is vital. Maize silage plays a critical role in this, as a well-grown, fully fermented crop of maize will provide starch rumen degradable in the right proportions to feed microbial activity in the rumen. Degradability of maize starch is just as important as total starch in a maize sample. The longer the maize is left in the
clamp, the more degradable it is and the more the rumen microbes can get out of it. Factoring this into rationing is important, with variety choice and agronomical techniques being vital in ensuring your crop will reach cob and plant maturity simultaneously, within a realistic harvest window.

"As we constantly look to improve effi ciency of milk production, having high quality starch that can be fed safely to maximise
rumen microbial production is vital. Maize silage plays a critical role in this."

For more advice on including maize in dairy rations, please call 01691 828512

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