September 2017 Newsletter - #68
In This Issue
About Us
The Dairy One Forage Lab excels in providing high quality analyses  
and customer service. Our goal is to provide analytical services designed to meet the expanding demands of modern agriculture.  
New technology and traditional methods are combined to deliver fast, accurate results.
Managing Inventories in
Stressed Years
Sarah Fessenden, Forage Tech Support and Sales Specialist

Last year the Northeast saw drought for most of the growing season with late summer rain. Most of the corn silage that was harvested was high in energy but generally lower yielding than in typical years due to short stalks and relatively normal ears. Producers were able to handle lower yields due to carry over from previous years. This year has made up for the lack of rain last year with too much. With short inventories two years in a row, it may be necessary to feed fresh silage that hasn't fully fermented.
Strategies to stretch inventory include harvesting stalks left over from grain harvest and rehydrating them to act as a forage extender. There are options for planting small grains to supplement later in the year. Spring oats are an option for grazing or silage when planted in August or early September. Winter grains also make suitable silage when harvested in the spring. Triticale has been successful in our area, with harvest usually in mid to late May. If you believe your inventories will be short, estimate when you will need to harvest more to help make your decision when planting. Table 1. shows the nutritive qualities of some common alternative forages.  
DM, %
CP, %
 ADF, %
NDF, %
NEL, Mcal/Lb
 33.5  14.5  38.0  58.5  0.56
 52.4  16.5  37.0  48.2  0.59
 35.1  13.1  38.6  58.8  0.56
Rye   39.4  14.7  37.6  57.9  0.57
Barley  36.7  12.3  35.2  55.0  0.59
Wheat  34.7  12.6  37.0  56.8  0.57
Table 1. Nutritive value of some alternative forage silages for dairy cattle (DM basis).
Fiber intake can be limited if forage is in short supply. A minimum forage dry matter intake should be maintained with at least 40% coming from forages. Table 2. depicts guidelines on forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF) intake and total NDF intake level. Conventionally fed herds should consume at least 1.4 - 1.6% of their body weight daily as forage dry matter. Keep in mind that even though the chemical level of NDF may appear adequate, if your forages are chopped short, you may have to increase forage intake to ensure physical needs for fiber are met. There are many options for feedstuffs to use in the diet. Table 3. shows the typical nutritive value of some alternative concentrate feedstuffs that can be used to increase the NDF level of the diet.
Forage NDF, as  
% body weight
Forage Level 
NDF intake level 
0.75  Minimum  If ration provides 1.3 to 1.4% total NDF including forage with use of byproduct ingredients. 
0.85  Minimum  If ration provides 1.1 to 1.2% total NDF including forage with heavy use of grains or starch ingredients. 
0.90  Moderately low   
0.95  Average  Example: 1300 lb cow x 0.0095 = 12.35 lbs forage NDF 
Moderately high 
Table 2. Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) intake levels from forages.
Feed  DM, %  CP, %  ADF, %  NDF, % NEL, Mcal/lb
Wheat bran 
 90.1  17.6  13.9  39.1  0.76
Brewers - wet 
 25.3  29.1  24.0  48.9  0.81
Brewers - dry 
 92.9  25.8  24.3  50.7  0.79
 88.6  31.4  16.7  34.1  0.92
Wheat midds 
 90.3  18.5  13.2  37.5  0.78
Corn cobs 
 93.2  5.5  37.3  71.1  0.35
Soy hulls 
 90.9  13.4  45.2  63.6  0.65
Beet pulp 
 91.8  9.3  26.2  41.2  0.68
Corn gluten feed 
 89.1  23.8  11.7  36.3  0.78
 - whole 
 91.4  24.2  40.3  53.7  0.91
Cottonseed meal 
 91.0  43.6  23.4  33.1  0.74
Canola meal 
 91.5  39.8  21.5  30.4  0.74
Complete nutrient data for feeds in Tables 1-3. can be found in our feed composition library, click here  to investigate more feeds.
Corn Silage Processing Score
With corn silage harvest coming up, it is important to take your time and make sure you put up the best feed that you can. Dairy One offers Corn Silage Processing Score (CSPS) testing. CSPS is determined by drying ~160 grams of a corn silage sample and shaking the dried sample for 10 minutes on a series of sieves.
The percentage of starch that passes through the coarse sieves (particles < 4.75 mm) represent the adequately processed kernels. The percentage of starch passing through the 4.75 mm sieve is determined by subtracting the amount of starch that did not pass through the 4.75 mm sieve from the total starch in the sample. The percentage of starch that passed through the 4.75 mm sieve is the CSPS. The guidelines for interpreting the results are:
  • Greater than 70% - Optimum
  • 50 - 70% - Adequate
  • Less than 50% - Inadequately Processed
The concept is similar to that of the Penn State Shaker Box in an attempt to quantify particle size distribution. Properly processed silage should achieve a balance between coarse particles to stimulate chewing and rumination and fine particles to enhance digestibility. The CSPS specifically targets starch. Starch in the coarse fraction will be less well digested than that in the fine. In contrast, fine particles passing through a 1.18 mm sieve are more readily digestible, but rapid fermentation may cause problems when rations low in effective fiber are fed. Lower CSPS scores associated with starch in the coarse fraction can result in an increase of fecal starch. Studies from VitaPlus and Dr. Jim Ferguson at the University of Pennsylvania show that a decrease in fecal starch can result in increased milk production.
Use the CSPS to ensure that the kernels in your silage are properly processed to promote starch digestibility and enhance the feeding value of your silage.
Who is Agricultural Consulting Services?

Agricultural Consulting Services (ACS) is a business unit of Dairy One specializing in agronomic services. One of the services they offer is soil sampling. 
The soil sampling service consists of a full time team of Field Service Technicians who take over 15,000 samples per year on over 150,000 acres. In addition, they are responsible for the necessary field work associated with Electroconductivity (EC) mapping, grid sampling, GPS boundary mapping and tile line mapping. To ensure that the field work is performed consistently and to the standards necessary for the work, ACS has developed an internal technician certification program. All new technicians are trained the same way and must pass through the certification process, which includes performing field work, as well as aptitude testing for running equipment. 
Whether you are sampling to stay in compliance with your state regulatory agency, sampling as part of a government funded program or sampling because you want to improve the fertility on your farm, ACS has a professional team who can do it quickly and accurately. 
Good decisions start with good data. Good fertility and nutrient management data starts with taking good samples. For more information, contact  Jack van Almelo at  607-257-1272 Ext.2088  or email .
Upcoming Events - Come see us!

September 19-22
Integrated Solutions to Fiber Challenges
October 3-7
World Dairy Expo
Madison, WI
October 17-19
Cornell Nutrition Conference
East Syracuse, NY
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Dairy One - Forage Laboratory
730 Warren Road ~ Ithaca, NY ~ 14850
Phone:  1-800-344-2697 Ext. 9962