Latham Selects Forage Products Based on Hi-Tech Measures

Super tight margins have a lot of growers putting every decision they make under a microscope, from defining yield-limiting factors and remodeling old traditions to using scientific tests to improve feed efficiency. The new and evolving information has almost out-paced our ability to quickly adapt, understand and transform new ideas into production.

The overall narrative about feed quality is gaining momentum. This past season, Dairyland Labs included fatty acid profiling to its corn silage forage quality reports. Fatty Acids are another tool nutrition consultants can use to build a more efficient livestock diet that can potentially improve the quality of meat, milk and eggs produced. The following graphic is a beginner’s reference of how fatty acid measures affect dairy feed rations.

Corey graphic

In addition to fatty acid counts, we at Latham Hi-Tech Seeds are using a variety of measures to help select corn hybrids and corn silage hybrids for our lineup. These measures include:

Yield. Products are selected for high yield in terms of tons of dry matter per acre.

Fiber and Starch Digestibility. Because both fiber and starch are major sources of energy, we evaluate products for ease of digestibility for energy conversion.

Prolamin Zein. Prolamins are proteins solely associated with starch in all cereal grains. In corn, prolamin proteins (called prolamin zein) comprise 30 to 60% of the protein in whole corn. Research shows that corn with lower levels of prolamin zein are more easily digested. Undigestible feed turns into manure instead of milk. Latham® forage products, however, have low levels of prolamin zein and are more easily digested by cows. Our products result in more floury, opaque, high-moisture corn products.

Amino Acids. Protein, made up of amino acids such as lysine and methionine, is one of the key ingredients cows need for growth, milk component and production, overall health and immunity. An imbalance of the critical amino acids mean overall milk production and quality can suffer. Furthermore, overfeeding protein can lead to inefficiencies and high nitrogen and phosphorous levels in manure. The team at Latham Seeds selects products for our lineup based on their amino acid composition.

Forage Quality. When developing our product lineup, we look for strong genetics that will maximize yield potential and traits that will protect that potential. Traits create a healthier plant in the field, higher quality silage product at harvest and more nutritious silage for your herd.

Above all, product selection for livestock feed needs to be about creating a healthier plant in the field that, in turn, creates higher quality feed in the bunk. Our product lineup is heavily vetted for characteristics that produce the highest quality feed. Please contact me if I may be of assistance selecting a portfolio of products to meet your feed quality and production needs next season.