Today we opened our first bag of 2010 corn silage for our cows' lunches. We were filled with anticipation this morning as we speculated what we might find in that silage bag. As you may recall we made 8.35 bags of corn silage this past August. We worked so hard to get the corn chopped at the right moisture, with the right level of starch in the corn, and chopped at the correct length (check out our video to refresh your memory!). All of these factors help to make corn silage an amazing food source for cows. Not only is corn silage a great source of energy (corn starch) but it also an excellent source of fiber (plant leaves and stalk) for our girls. We feed roughly 50 pounds of corn silage per milk cow each day, making it the primary food of our cows. When we chopped our corn this past August, it looked like the picture below. The plants were green & the corn was bright yellow.
We sealed it inside the plastic silage bags like a ZipLock bag, with a coating of inoculant (good bacteria used to help preserve the silage). When we seal the bags we never know for sure what we will find when we open them. Every year it is a surprise. We hope that we did our jobs right; that we did the best that we could and would have an amazing feed for our cows. Each year we strive to do better than the year previous. This year we planted a variety of corn that was expected to be higher in digestible fiber for cows, therefore also higher in energy (cows also derive energy from fiber digestion!). So when the big moment came and we opened the seal on our silage bag...this is what we found!!!!
Yep! I sure wish my camera had Smell-O-Vision! This corn silage smelled great! It has a sour aroma to it, but with hints of a sweet flavor. The sour is the vinegar that is produced during fermentation in a silage bag and the sweet is the beloved lactic acid, which makes silage awesome. It's odd that we look forward to our silage, but our cows' health and well being depend on our ability to make good feed. This silage was so tasty for our cows, that they ate more than we expected today and we will have to increase the amount fed to them tomorrow! Hopefully this will result in more milk production as well as continued good health for our cows!