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Corn Shredlage new to feed group

By Renae B. Vander Schaaf

Date Modified: 03/15/2013 10:23 AM

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CARMEL, Iowa — Silage and haylage are familiar feedstuffs, but now there is a newcomer to add to the list, corn Shredlage.

Brian Rozeboom uses Shredlage on his 500 cow dairy farm near Carmel. A nutritionist encouraged him to try this recent development in corn silage processing that promotes the tearing or ripping of the forage as it passes through a chopper that has been modified.

His corn was custom harvested into Shredlage, a first for both Rozeboom and the harvester.

"It was not easy -- with anything new there is a learning curve," said Rozeboom. "The processor and knives are both working harder, it takes a lot of horsepower."

The dairy hauled and packed the Shredlage. Normally silage has a 13 pound dry matter packing density. But this packed way harder, said Rozeboom.

"The small particles intertwine to each other, holding together," said Rozeboom. "So that the density was 20 1/2 pound dry matter packing density."

Rozeboom has fed Shredlage since Jan. 1 without spoilage. The cows didn't shy away from eating it.

What about milk production?

"Butterfat has held steady at 3.7-3.8 range," said Rozeboom. "Protein, which is difficult to move up, has gone up two-tenths. The energy-corrected milk is about five pounds."

Shredlage originated from a dairy farmer in Missouri. The process is similar to traditional corn silage with the exception of the crop processor rolls, said Kevin Lager, Iowa State University Extension dairy specialist. He discussed the issue during a Dairy Day event in Sioux Center.

"The chop length is a little longer," said Lager. "The forage is torn and ripped as it is harvested."

The knives on the drum are fewer and the grooves on the processing rolls run both horizontally and vertically.

Shredlage has to be treated as silage is and eliminating oxygen from the pack is important, he said.

Initial studies show some positive and some neutral responses depending on what was being measured, but further investigation is necessary.

"In a feeding study conducted by the University of Wisconsin, Shredlage-processed corn silage was compared to kernel-processed silage in lactating cows," said Lager. "The results of the study where inclusion of corn silage was 50% of the ration, cows consuming the Shredlage-based diet tended to eat more feed, but did not produce more milk overall."

However, when looking at 3.5 percent fat-corrected milk, the Shredlage-based ration tended to yield more milk. Starch and total tract neutral detergent fiber digestibility were improved in cows consuming the Shredlage diet.