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Selecting corn silage hybrids

Selecting corn silage hybrids
Hybrid choice has two-year impact

As the corn harvest winds down and combines are put back in the shed, dairy producers will soon be busy selecting hybrids to plant for next year's corn silage.

"The choices growers make now are going to impact their farm through 2017," says Jon Erickson, Mycogen Seeds commercial agronomist. "They're going to grow those hybrids in 2016 and they won't start feeding the silage until late 2016 and 2017. Their decision will affect that dairy for the next two years."

When evaluating which hybrids to select, Erickson recommends selecting hybrids that are high in fiber digestibility. Other characteristics to look for include tonnage, disease tolerance, early season vigor and standability.

Diseases are one of the biggest threats to yield.

"For high-quality feed in high-forage diets, dairy producers need silage corn hybrids with a high neutral detergent fiber digestibility," Erickson explains. "Diets with high NDFD encourage greater dry matter intake and higher milk production."

Mycogen Seeds Dairy Nutritionist Kathy Emery, DVM, agrees.

"Every one point increase in fiber digestibility equates to .26 pounds increased dry matter intake per cow," Emery says. "Our bm3 BMR hybrids have never been beaten in a university lactation trial. In 20 studies since 1999, bm3 BMR has outperformed other hybrids by an average of 5.2 pounds more energy-corrected milk per cow per day. That's a big increase in milk production by just selecting a hybrid."

According to Erickson, Mycogen brand bm3 BMR and TMF hybrids, including TMF91Q25, TMF06S67 RA, TMF14L46, BMR10B27 RA and BMR14B96, can deliver both maximum tonnage and high digestibility across varying growing conditions.

"If you are looking for the highest digestability, then you want a bm3 BMR hybrid," Erickson explains.  "TMF hybrids also have good digestability. These hybrids are taller with big, wide leaves and softer kernels. They are known for having a more uniform dry down rate between the ear and the stover."

Mycogen also offers grain hybrids that can be used for silage which offers flexibility to grow for silage or grain.

Diseases are one of the biggest threats to yield.

"Growers should consider hybrids that stand up to common diseases such as gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight," Erickson says. Mycogen offers hybrids with early season vigor to help growers get the season off to a good start.

Standability is important for harvesting at the ideal whole plant moisture, especially in fields with high plant population or perennial stalk rot issues. Erickson says, Mycogen brand silage hybrids have above-average staygreen and stalk strength which translates into exceptional standability at harvest.

For more information on Mycogen corn silage hybrids, visit to find your local Mycogen Seeds field representative.

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