1. BYH Official Poll: What are the things that you should consider before buying herds?
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  2. Guess the build... - Discussion thread.
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  3. Dismiss Notice
  4. BYH Picture of the Week (POW) - Submit your Pics Now !!
    Click HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)
    Dismiss Notice

Silage question

Discussion in 'Feeding Time - Cattle (Feed & Forages)' started by WyndSyrin, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Feb 13, 2018
    WyndSyrin

    WyndSyrin Overrun with beasties

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2017
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    60
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    North Central Missouri
    ok here is the situation; we just got 17tons of silage and we are feeding it in conjunction with our hay. The sad part is that we are slowly running out of hay due to the fact that we had a 10 day cold snap of -20F days and just as bad nights the first part of January.

    My question is this: Is it safe to feed just corn silage by itself with out feeding hay with it? Any and all help would be very much appreciated. We have asked around and we got all kinds of different answers with nothing really for certain
     
  2. Feb 14, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    Messages:
    3,844
    Likes Received:
    6,114
    Trophy Points:
    403
    Location:
    East Texas
    Safe? Probably as long as it was ensilaged properly but SRB, Southern by choice, Wehner Farms or FarmerJan would be the ones to ask about that.
    As far as silage as a good ration....
    I don't do silage and don't know anyone here that does (not corn country) but everything I've ever heard about corn silage said.... 'it depends'...
    on how much dry matter(fiber) is in your particular silage compared to how much moisture is in it. The cows would have to eat a lot more silage than hay, as around 50% of the corn silage would be moisture and the rest dry matter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  3. Feb 16, 2018
    WildRoseBeef

    WildRoseBeef Range nerd & bovine enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,253
    Likes Received:
    357
    Trophy Points:
    303
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    As greybeard said, it depends on the moisture. Silage that gets at least 70% moisture has potential for listeriosis-causing bacteria that can affect your herd. Also, the higher the moisture the silage is, the more your cows will need to eat. I'm not sure how big your cows are, but let's say for example corn silage at that moisture is fed to a 1400 pound cow (not that your cows are that big), that means she needs to eat about 100 pounds of silage per day (and that's as is). Cows that are fed silage only will be getting mostly water and not much else, which is why adding some hay is important so that the cows have more roughage to go with it.

    Has a feed test been done on the silage at all?

    Also, corn silage usually is pretty high in energy, so it may end up making your cows fatter than what you need to them. When are your cows calving, or are they already with calf at side? Pregnant cows typically don't need as much energy and protein as cows that are nursing a calf if they're already in good to very good body condition. It's a different story if they're thin and need to put on some weight.

    What kind of hay are they getting now? Legume-grass or straight grass? How have they been doing on that hay (look like they're maintaining fat cover, look like they're getting thinner, etc.)?
     
  4. Feb 16, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    Messages:
    3,844
    Likes Received:
    6,114
    Trophy Points:
    403
    Location:
    East Texas
    Oops. I see typed SRB instead of WRB.
    Sorry.

    WildRoseBeef..I generally try to up the energy during cold wet windy times as it helps them endure the crappy elements and that may be WyndSyrin's goal here, tho I understood her concern to be based on the likelihood of running out of hay before winter ends and having to feed only silage.
     
    WildRoseBeef likes this.
  5. Feb 16, 2018
    WyndSyrin

    WyndSyrin Overrun with beasties

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2017
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    60
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    North Central Missouri
    our cows are about 1200-1300 on average.

    We have a silage test coming to us from the person that we bought it from. This person feeds it to his dairy cows.

    All of our cows are between Stage 3 and stage 1. So we should be having calves on ground starting in march. The hay we have is total grass. We have some cows that are kinda thin now and they get really thin once they have their calf. Others look like they swallowed an oil barrel.
     
  6. Feb 19, 2018
    WildRoseBeef

    WildRoseBeef Range nerd & bovine enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,253
    Likes Received:
    357
    Trophy Points:
    303
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    @WyndSyrin Have you tried doing a body condition score on them? The winter coat can hide a lot of things if you tried to determine their condition visually. This link is really helpful: http://www.beefresearch.ca/research/body-condition-scoring.cfm

    It sounds like the corn silage is going to be needed if you have thin cows. The ones that look like barrels on four legs are probably ones ready to calve, but if they're showing more bones over their hips and spine than they should, that indicates that they need the extra energy that the corn silage will give them.

    @greybeard No problem. That's my thought too, but I like to cover all the bases. I was just a little concerned that the silage maybe too much of a good thing and get them too fat before calving, but from the sounds of it, that's not going to be much of a problem.
     
  7. Feb 19, 2018
    WyndSyrin

    WyndSyrin Overrun with beasties

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2017
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    60
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    North Central Missouri
    Well based on the website that I was given by WildRoseBeef I would have to say our cows and heifers have a BCS ranging from 2.5-3.5 now and most only drop to a 3 after caving with 2 hitting a 2.5. Those two always bounce back once they have the calf and get on some really good grass in about june or so
     
  8. Feb 19, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    Messages:
    3,844
    Likes Received:
    6,114
    Trophy Points:
    403
    Location:
    East Texas
    Some of mine are in a much poorer condition than I would normally allow, but I've not been able to care for them as I usually do beginning in late Sept. I lost most of my hay and due to personal activities, didn't get any winter forage planted. I was able to replace most of my hay, but it is a much lower quality.


    Some say any BCS 4 and over is too fat. Depends on different factors, but I don't agree that a 4-5 would be too fleshy going into winter.
    Normally, the trick is to try to go INTO winter in as good condition as possible regardless of whether bred, open, nursing or anything else even if it means they are a little fat at the first onset of really bad weather.
    You being in Mo, and from what I read on cattle boards, I assume you have fescue, and should be able to stockpile some of it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
  9. Feb 19, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2016
    Messages:
    1,220
    Likes Received:
    1,854
    Trophy Points:
    208
    Location:
    virginia
    The silage will do your cows alot of good if they are a bit thin. BUT, watch the protein. I think you will need to supplement with grain to up the protein level. Too much energy and them having to ingest alot of the silage. It also changes the "bugs" in their gut system and you can wind up with some loose/scour type manure until they are really adjusted to it. You can replace the hay with it if it is all you have but it is not a good idea. They need more of the "long stem" roughage that the hay provides. Can you up the silage and cut back some on the hay but not cut it out? I am not sold on silage for beef cattle but we have fed it a couple of years, this year included, because we have been in a position where it is cheaper, and we wanted the "insurance" of having plenty of feed. We do feed hay to them free choice too. Some is sorghum/sudan hay, made dry this year; sometimes it is wrapped. We also feed a mixed grass hay off fields that we cut in the area. It all has some fescue in it. Orchard grass hay also, we make alot of first cutting in round bales then 2nd or later in small squares for sale. They really like the first cutting orchard grass.
     
    WildRoseBeef likes this.