Using BMR corn to increase production on your farm

If higher milk production is what you’re after, there’s no comparison. BMR corn silage offers outstanding fibre digestibility, leading to higher feed consumption among high-producing cows. It’s high-quality feed for better cow performance. 

Importance of Fibre Digestibility to your Bottom Line

Feed costs represent 40-60% of the total cost of milk production on dairy farms (Endres, 2019). Feeding your cows BMR corn silage typically lowers purchased feed costs in a diet, helping to improve income.

BMR hybrids have less lignin and higher fibre digestibility than standard (non-BMR) corn hybrids. When fed to high-producing dairy cows, BMR corn silage can increase dry matter intake (DMI) which may result in greater milk production. University of Wisconsin-Madison studies* show that using BMR versus standard corn silage can increase milk production by 0.45 kg per day. A meta-analysis of corn silage fibre digestibility research indicates that in high corn silage diets (>40%), every 1-point increase in corn silage fibre digestibility led to an increase of 0.14 litres of milk per cow per day (Jung et. al., 2004). Feeding a high quality, high forage diet can also help improve the overall rumen health of a dairy herd.

Selecting the Right Corn Silage Hybrid

Proper planning is key to success with BMR corn silage. Each dairy operation and each year are different, which can present unique challenges or variables to manage. BMR corn hybrids can be slightly lower yielding than standard corn silage hybrids and often improves DMI of dairy cows, which may require an adjustment on planned corn silage acres.

BMR hybrids require the best agronomic practices from planting to harvest to storage. Where possible, storing BMR separate from standard corn silage can allow for targeting feeding to transition or high groups. BMR has a fit in a diverse variety of operations and feeding styles. Working with your Pioneer Sales Representative and nutritionist will help to pinpoint what the advantage for your farm is.

Growing environment also has a large impact on fibre digestibility, resulting in very different levels from one year to the next. Dry conditions during vegetation growth tend to yield less but improve fibre digestibility, while wet conditions tend to yield more but decrease fibre digestibility. If you plant any type of silage corn in a wet year following a dry year, you may not see as much of an advantage versus if the growing seasons were similar year-over-year.  

Before planting, harvesting, and feeding BMR corn silage, dairy producers are encouraged to consult with their nutritionists to develop a plan for using BMR in their dairy operation. The greatest benefits when feeding BMR silage are often seen in cow diets with high corn silage inclusion rates. Feeding a higher corn silage diet typically allows for less grain to be fed due to higher daily starch intake from silage and more energy from fibre. Transition cows and high-producing cows generally respond favourably to BMR. As with any ration change, add BMR corn silage gradually to rations to allow the rumen environment to adjust and then monitor animal performance.

Improved Forage Yield Potential

Recent genetic advancements and new BMR hybrid offerings have improved forage yield potential while enhancing drought tolerance, disease resistance, and standability for more reliable forage production. To capture the improved yield and quality potential, plan to manage BMR hybrids using the best planting and agronomic practices available.

Pioneer® brand BMR Products

With unrivaled selection and proven genetics, our silage products outperform to match your needs and maximize production. Choose from four Pioneer® brand BMR corn hybrids:

  • P9482SXE™
    • 2500-2800 Heat Units
    • SmartStax® and Enlist™ Corn traits
    • Early maturity, higher fibre digestibility and excellent stalk strength
  • P9648SX™
    • 2500-2800 Heat Units
    • SmartStax® trait
    • Higher whole plant digestibility with above average starch and sugar percentage
  • P0256AMXT™
    • 2800-3100 Heat Units
    • Optimum® AcreMax® Xtreme for corn-on-corn acres plus LibertyLink® and Roundup Ready® traits
    • Exceptional fibre digestibility, above average silage yield potential, medium plant height
  • P0677AMX™
    • 2800-3100 Heat Units
    • Optimum® AcreMax® Xtreme plus LibertyLink® and Roundup Ready® traits
    • Proven BMR product with strong agronomics, superb digestibility and excellent milk per ton

Like any corn hybrid, matching the right product to the right acre is important. Work with your local Pioneer Sales Representative to select the best BMR hybrid for your operation. Our team of forage experts are available for on-farm support all season long. To learn more about the best BMR options for your operation contact your local Pioneer Sales Representative, take a look at our Eastern Seed Guide or visit our  Silage Zone® Resource Centre.

References

*1  Comparing fibre digestibility (NDFD-30hr) of BMR hybrids and standard corn silage hybrids in university corn silage hybrid comparison trials in WI, PA, NY (31 site-years).

Endres, M. 2019. Dairy and the cost of production in tough times. Department of Extension, Univ. of Minnesota.

Gencoglu, H., R. Shaver, and J. Lauer, J. 2008. Brown Midrib Corn Silage for Lactating Dairy Cows: A Contemporary Review. Departments of Dairy Science and Agronomy, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison. January, 2008.

Jung, H. G., M. Raeth-Knight, and J. G. Linn. "Forage fibre digestibility: Measurement, variability, and impact." Proc. 65th Minnesota Nutr. Conf., St. Paul, MN. Univ. Minnesota, Minneapolis. 2004.