Developing an on-farm method to estimate DM loss in corn silage silos
The goal of the project is to develop a simple on-farm method for estimating “shrink” (i.e. dry matter (DM) loss) in corn silage silos. Silage DM loss is inversely related to silage DM density, and estimations of silage DM density are fairly standardized and can be performed on-farm. To clearly relate DM loss to DM density, we proposed to measure both in 2 bunker silos and 2 upright silos. We are in the process of finishing the second bunker silo and both upright silos. Data from the first bunker silo has been combined with previous preliminary work to develop regression equations describing the relationship of DM loss to DM density. The results have been presented at 5 local and regional meetings to approximately 600 dairy farmers and 100 dairy industry professionals. The findings have also been presented at the 15th International Silage Conference and American Dairy Science Association National Meetings. Our preliminary results would suggest that while DM loss is inversely related to DM density, there is a tremendous amount of variation in DM loss within a silo that can be accounted for solely by DM density. However, overall average DM density of a silo does appear to be highly inversely related to DM loss. Under excellent management conditions, DM losses in upright conventional silos appear to be less than half of those in bunker silos.
Place and retrieve poly-weave nylon bags of silage from 2 bunker silos and 2 upright silos.
Measure DM loss within each bag and assess DM density of silage at each bag location within each silo.
Analyze data on DM loss and nutrient changes and develop regression equations to clearly relate DM loss to DM density.
Deliver the research results to dairy farmers in a practical manner that they can then utilize to improve their corn silage storage and feeding management. Delivery will be through presentations, articles in lay journals, and training of industry professionals and extension educators.
72 polyweave nylon bags were placed in 2 bunker silos and 18 polyweave nylon bags were placed in 2 conventional upright silos in the fall of 2009.
Retrieval of bags from one bunker silo was completed in March 2010 and all other bags should be retrieved by late August 2010.
Preliminary results have been presented at 5 local and regional meetings for dairy farmers and industry professionals. These meetings included:
International Silo Association Annual Meeting – January 2010 – 50 attendees
Lykens Valley Dairy Day – February 2010 – 50 attendees
Hoober Feeds Winter Dairy Seminar – February 2010 – 300 attendees
Pennsylvania Dairy Summit – February 2010 – 250 attendees
Renaissance Nutrition, Inc. Meeting – April 2010 – 50 attendees
A corn silage harvest and storage management meeting was held in January 2010 in Lancaster, PA with 120 attendees. The meeting combined the results of the current study with speakers from the University of Wisconsin and University of Delaware.
Preliminary results were presented at the 15th International Silage Conference in Madison WI and the 2010 American Dairy Science Association Meetings in Denver CO.
Articles have been submitted to Progressive Forage Grower, Lancaster Farming and Farmshine on the preliminary results.
- Evaluation Report on Corn Silage Conference held January 21, 2010
- Poster of DM Loss Study Results presented 2010 ADSA National Meetings – English Unit Version
- Poster of DM Loss Study Results presented 2010 ADSA National Meetings
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The impact of the work to date has been to provide dairy farmers with clear estimates of losses that can be found in corn silage silos. Most farmers are unaware of the extent of loss and how that loss can be minimized through good management practices. The full extent of the research impact will not be known for some time.
Paradise, PA 17562-9645
Office Phone: 7176876622
880 Pinkerton Rd
Mount Joy, PA 17552-9241
Office Phone: 7175720731
Hoober Feeds, Inc.
P.O. Box 39
Gordonville, PA 17529
Office Phone: 7177683216
Senior Extension Educator
Penn State Cooperative Extension
1451 Peters Mtn. Rd.
Dauphin, PA 17018-9504
Office Phone: 7179218803
Penn State Cooperative Extension
1383 Arcadia Rd
Lancaster, PA 17601
Office Phone: 7173946851
83A S Belmont Rd
Paradise , PA 17562-9701
Office Phone: 7176879048