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The latest brochures, stories, photos, videos and other current information on the people and products of CLAAS.

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CLAAS Product Manager, Matt Jaynes, dives into Dairy Nutrition

High Quality Silage, Healthy Cattle, and Happy Producers

It is certainly no mystery that what a dairy cow consumes affects the quality and quantity of the milk she produces. Because corn silage often makes up more than 50% of the nutrition for dairy cattle production, contributing protein and fiber, CLAAS Product Manager Matt Jaynes delves into how chop length and processing can affect nutritional value.

"To facilitate a good fermentation process, silage needs to be chopped fine enough to allow for dense packing,” he says. “However, the chop length should be long enough to promote cud chewing, which has posed an intriguing challenge for many researchers of the topic.”

Developing Better Silage

Historically, producers have tried short-chopped and classic-chopped corn silage.

  • Short-chopped silage is generally used for biogas facilities.
  • Classic-chopped silage was the established standard for years, but the packing density can prove to be a challenge.

To achieve both nutritional value and packing density, American dairy nutritionists developed a feed conditioning process to significantly improve bacterial fermentation throughout ensiling and during digestion in the cow’s rumen.


This superior silage process multiplies the surface of the chopped material many times by chopping it at even greater lengths than classic chopped forage, ranging from 21 to 30 millimeters (7/8 to 1 3/16 inches), then processing the long-cut silage using a special processor.  

Jaynes explains, “The rollers on this patented processor, which have counter directional helical grooves, chop the cob fragments completely and crush the kernels to split them thoroughly. In addition, the stalk fragments are also shredded longitudinally into strings and their bark layer is peeled, thanks to the special surface of the rollers.”

This process dramatically increases the physical effectiveness of corn silage in the rumen while improving the availability of the starch contained in all parts of the plant, according to University of Wisconsin trials conducted in 2012.

The result is that daily milk yield in the herds increased by up to 2.4 pounds per cow all while herd health increased.

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Better for Beef, Too

Karla Jenkins, a cow-calf researcher from the University of Nebraska, says processing silage this way can provide a better way to finish beef cattle as well. In the Nebraska study, cattle fed rations containing this longer-chopped and conditioned corn silage experienced a 2.9% greater average daily gain (ADG) and a 4.4% greater feed-to gain ratio when compared to control groups fed conventionally chopped and processed silage.

Read more in the May 1, 2022, Progressive Forage Q&A article Top Questions about corn silage quality by Matt Jaynes.

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