; Corn Silage, Feeding Management, and Cash Flow Effects | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Corn Silage, Feeding Management, and Cash Flow Effects

Heather Weeks and Viriginia Ishler


Feeding and cropping management practices are critical to a profitable dairy business. In a 2015 cash flow plans summary, dairy farm breakeven milk price ranged from $12.23/cwt to $38.72/cwt (n=107). An indicator of a successful dairy farm is achieving profitable milk production with quality forages within economical feed costs. Between 2013 and 2015, 60 farms were sampled four times over two years for corn silage, fecal starch, and milk urea nitrogen (MUN), and surveyed about best management practices. 48 farms were analyzed using data envelopment analysis (DEA) to assess corn silage quality and management effects on farm profitability. Farms that adjusted corn silage harvest particle size produced an average of 82.8 ± 9 pounds of milk per cow per day compared to 73.8 ± 8 pounds on farms that do not adjust for particle size (t=1.94, p?0.05). Farms that tested corn silage dry matters daily/weekly averaged 78.4 ± 9 lbs milk/cow/day compared to 74.8 ± 9 lbs on farms that monitor monthly or “as needed” (t=2.59, p?0.01). Corn silage hybrids and storage structures were recorded at sampling. Farms that fed the same hybrid from the same structure from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015 showed a 6.7% increase in 7-hour starch digestibility compared to a 0.2% increase on farms that fed a blend of hybrids in the same structure or 2.7% increase on farms that changed the hybrid, structure or both (F=4.09, p<0.05). Farms also reported their past three years’ actual income and expense data that are currently being analyzed.