“CAN” Nitrogen-Fixation Products Improve Silage Quality?

As quickly as we close the book on the 2022 season, we start the next chapter of 2023.

This is referred to as “Constant and Never-ending Improvement” (CANI) by Tony Robbins — author, coach and motivational speaker. His CANI technique is about making consistent, small changes in your life that are often more effective than trying to change everything at once. I believe most farmers embody this spirit of growth and optimism.

As we sharpen the pencil on our 2023 story, it’s beneficial to review observations from the 2022 growing season. One of the most expensive components in livestock feed is supplemental protein. Because I hope to find ways beyond plant genetics to help improve plant protein, I’m taking a closer look at nitrogen-fixation products.

Forage quality is complex and has a lot to do with a combination of plant genetics x soil fertility x environment. In addition to the seed treatment trials conducted at Latham’s Premier Agronomy Center in Alexander, I did a small experiment with Envita in a small corn silage trial in Ellsworth, Wisc. I’m just learning about these nitrogen-fixation products on corn. I’m sharing my observations because I found them interesting.

I sprayed Envita in a foliar form on healthy plants around tassel time. After spraying, moisture was limited until corn silage harvest time. The following photos help show the harvest results.

Corey Photos

Corn Silage Yield Observations

LH 5389 + Envita = 7.7 more harvest tons, and 3 more dry matter (DM) tons versus the check with no difference in quality.

There is clearly a visual difference in ear size, so I’m curious to learn more about these types of nitrogen-fixation products. NOTE: This research was done only one year in one location. It will be interesting to see what type of yield response we see in subsequent years and at different locations. My hypothesis is Envita helped the silage plant better handle stress from dry conditions, but I need to test it further. There is so much to be learned!

What types of experiments do you plan to conduct on your farm in 2023?

Check out past articles for tips on conducting small scale, on-farm experiments:

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