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News 2780 views last update:14 Jan 2016

Can shredlage substitute for hay in dairy diets?

As alfalfa’s acreage and supply decline and prices remain high, dairy producers are searching for alternative economical replacements for the milk-producing forage they use. Some of them are turning to corn silage processed through Shredlage units on forage harvesters.

Shredlage is a new harvesting method that shreds crop longitudinally at a 26-mm particle length compared to kernel-processed silage corn’s recommended 19-mm (¾”) length. Shredded silage is more digestible than conventionally harvested corn silage, says Roger Olson, a nutritionist and Shredlage technical director.

“Because Shredlage is longer, that’s allowed a lot of producers to take out the dry hay, feed less haylage and feed more Shredlage, which in turn lowers feed cost,” he points out.

“Shredlage typically will allow people to chop a bit longer and get more effective fiber out of corn silage,” agrees Randy Shaver, University of Wisconsin Extension dairy nutritionist.

He conducted feeding trials comparing conventionally processed corn silage with Shredlage and reported the results last January. “For a one-shot trial, it looked pretty encouraging in terms of milk production. We did see a trend for some higher intake, and we did see increased energy-corrected and fat-corrected milk.”

To read more visit the Hay & Forage Grower website.

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