Days Ensiled Improves Starch Availability

Science has enabled us to delve deeper into the feed bunk and discover some hidden secrets of the silage fermentation process. At Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, we evaluate hybrids to help guide the selection process for both nutritionists and farmers.

Nutritionists are focusing on the conversion of indigestible starch to digestible starch over time. Each hybrid has its own unique starch digestibility, and research shows that it takes up to 240 days for some high prolamin zein hybrids to fully breakdown. Prolamin zein is a protein the encapsulates the starch molecule, making it unavailable to the digestion microbes for a food source.

Corn hybrids with lower levels of prolamin zein are more easily digested. Select Latham® forage products have low levels of prolamin zein and are more easily digested by cows, which is great news for our customers because undigestible feed turns into manure instead of milk.

Corn test weight also can be an indicator of how much prolamin zein is available. While higher test weights are good thing for grain farmers, higher test weight corn tends also to be higher prolamin zein. As the chart below from Progressive Dairy indicates, prolamin protein tends to break down and more of the starch is exposed over time in an ensiled environment. The challenge is that time isn’t always on a dairy or beef producer’s side.

When feed supplies are low, producers often start feeding corn silage right away. If feed is your end use, choose hybrids that are either lower in prolamin zein or tend to have a lighter test weight. Leafy hybrids from Latham Hi-Tech Seeds tend to have better starch digestibility scores early. These Latham® Leafy Hybrids can improve early feed conversion: 5400, 5495, and 5742. Order now while our prices are lowest and our supplies are highest!

11.5 Tech Tuesday