Why Choose Silage-Specific Corn Seed
When purchasing corn seed intended for silage as part of a livestock ration, producers should choose silage-specific corn hybrids. They are most likely to provide the ideal characteristics:
- Strong agronomics
- High total plant yield
- Long harvest window
- Short storage period
- High starch content
- Higher starch digestibility
- High fiber digestibility
- Ration type adaptability
- Excellent feed quality
It may seem simpler to plant the same hybrids on your silage-intended fields as you do on the rest of your corn acres. However, the unique characteristics of highest quality silage for dairy and beef rations are often the opposite of what grain hybrids are bred to express.
The best silage products have been bred to achieve total plant silage qualities.
Differences between corn hybrids for grain and corn hybrids for silage.
Farmers need to keep in mind the intended use of their crops as they choose corn hybrids for the planting season. The characteristics that make a great crop of grain are nearly opposite of the characteristics that are needed for high-yielding, highly-digestible silage.
Commercial grain hybrids are developed to meet much different needs. Grain corn—which is what is grown on more than 90 percent of U.S. corn acres—needs to have durable, hard kernels, ears located high on the stalk, with stiff stalks that remain standing late into the season. Grain farmers need corn that dries down well and delivers high quantities of starch while being durable for storage and transport.
Silage hybrids should have completely different features. Silage kernels are meant to break down. Therefore larger, softer kernels are favored. As well as lower ears, with more leaves above the ear, and provide more total digestible fiber when the silage is harvested.
Hybrids marketed as dual purpose really just means that there are compromises in the ideal characteristics of both grain and silage hybrids.
Benefits of silage-specific corn seed for growers.
By choosing silage-specific corn seed for their silage fields, producers benefit in many ways. Benefits such as ranging from lower input costs to a wider window for harvest.
Kussmaul Seeds offers both Leafy and Floury Leafy option silage. Silage corn hybrids yield best when planted at a maximum population of 28,000-30,000 ppa. That means farmers need 20 percent less seed than would be planted for a grain or dual-purpose hybrid. Less seed purchased = fewer dollars spent up front for the same yield.
Leafy hybrids also dry more slowly in both the stalk and ear components. A wider window for harvest exists because of the slow drying characteristic. The whole plant stays near the ideal silage moisture of 65 percent moisture and 50 percent kernel milkline for a longer period of time than dual purpose hybrids.
The more flexible stalk of silage corn even offers an advantage in the case of a bad weather event. Such as when it is more likely to flex than break in high winds. In the even of something like flooding, Leafy hybrids are likely to respond to the lower plant population by putting on two ears and maximizing use of the resources.
After harvest, Leafy silage hybrids require less storage time and may even require less storage space, with the potential to be fed as early as 30 days after harvest.
To find out more about Leafy Corn Silage please visit the Leafy Corn Silage Information Guide.
Benefits of silage-specific corn in livestock rations.
Along with benefits from crop management, silage-specific hybrids provide greater results as a part of the feed ration for dairy and beef.
Leafy and Floury Leafy silage hybrid are bred specifically for use in silage. They maintain the characteristics that provide the highest quality feed for livestock rations.
Higher starch content and high starch digestibility provide greater energy in the ration. Because the large, soft kernels break down more easily. Higher amounts of digestible fiber promote rumination and rumen retention. And come from more leaves above the ear and softer stalks.
As a mark of excellence, all of Kussmaul’s Ruminant Friendly Silage (*RFS) hybrids have been bred with these characteristics. Our Floury Leafy silage hybrids provide even more rumen-available starch for milk production by containing a naturally occurring recessive gene called opaque-1. These hybrids typically express 25 percent of their kernels as “floury”. Floury kernal are large, soft and slow drying so that they fracture easily during chopping and chewing for maximum starch digestibility. Extra high quality starch provides increased potential for producing milk with high fat content. (Want more information about Floury Leafy corn silage? Contact your dealer or fill out the form on our contact page to ask for our Corn Silage Information Guide.)
*Look for the RFS label on our corn seed products to find the conventional and traited hybrids designed specifically for silage use. See the full lineup in our current product guide.
Helping you choose the best silage corn seed for your operation
Leafy and Floury Leafy corn silage hybrids are bred to offer a superior balance of effective and digestible fiber, more rumen-available starch and dairy-specific agronomic characteristics such as high total plant yields and long harvest windows. They need less time in the silo before they can be fed and produce high quality milk dependably and economically.
Kussmaul’s district sales managers can be strong resources for growers in choosing the RFS silage-specific hybrid for their needs, balancing maturity, field conditions, management style and livestock nutrition needs.
Find the sales manager for your region on our website here or download a complete catalog of Kussmaul Seeds corn seed (conventional, organic, traited and silage-specific), soybean seed, alfalfa seed, forages and wildlife mixes.
Contact us to Order Silage Corn Seed Today: