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Earlage then chop corn stalks with a forage harvester?
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J. Sheehan
Posted 11/5/2023 09:52 (#10469631 - in reply to #10469434)
Subject: RE: Earlage then chop corn stalks with a forage harvester?

Sunnyside, WA
RFI90 - 11/5/2023 05:42

roo - 11/5/2023 05:10

Explain to us why you don’t want to just do silage? If you need higher energy levels, you could just cut the silage high.

Not sure about Jason, but I would love to be able to chop the stalks and ensile them right behind earlage. Some animals like gestating beef cows or developing replacement heifers don't need the energy of corn silage. If you run a dairy and are after high-quality forage for the cows, you don't have grinding hay to lower the energy level for the heifers. Tub grinding dry stalks bales would work, but adds a process if you don't already have the baler. A fermented product adds moisture to the ration and makes mixing either. It tends to keep consumption steady, too. Once you meet their requirements, anything else in the diet needs to add bulk without too much energy / protein / fat.

One dairy hay customer always preferred that his replacement heifers never saw corn silage until they freshened. The energy level was too high and they tended to deposit fat in the udder, which led to a decrease in lifetime milk production. They got straight dry hay in round bales and some grain in a bunk at a farm where a TMR with ground cornstalks wasn't an option. Another one tub grinds cornstalks for developing heifers and gets along well with it.

Tried chopping fresh stalks right after earlage one time. Consumption was great, but labor at the time was an issue when too many other things were happening at the same time. Didn't have enough acres of earlage stalks to make it worthwhile. Harvesting them as baleage would work with a vertical TMR, but we don't have one. Then you're stuck making a TMR that uses an entire bale or making bales so small that they are expensive to wrap.

Roo, this. We do chop our corn silage at about 12” already. I want to double crop with triticale and it’s nice to have stalks removed. Buy straw for heifers so corn stalks sounds like a good switch.
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