2 August 2002

Harvest maize at correct DM

ENSURING maize is harvested at the correct dry matter allows a greater chop length to prevent displaced abomasums when feeding high maize rations, according to one expert.

Feeding high levels of maize could lead to displaced abomasums, said Simon Phillips of Grainseed Maize. "It is a particular problem when maize is harvested at 30-35% dry matter with a fine chop to ensure grains are cracked."

But harvesting maize earlier at 28-30% dry matter could reduce risk. At this dry matter, maize could be chopped more coarsely without compromising clamp consolidation when grain crackers were used, he said.

"Another problem when harvesting maize at more than 30% dry matter is that starch in the top of the kernel becomes glassy and relies on two types of rumen bug to be digested," said Mr Phillips.

"Therefore, more starch can pass through the cow undigested when fed at high levels."

But do not harvest maize too early, as starch losses in the clamp would be greater. Where this could not be avoided, Mr Phillips advised filling the bottom of the clamp with more mature maize to trap soluble starch from wetter material on top. &#42

Harvesting maize at 28-30% DM with a coarse chop length will avoid displaced abomasums, said Simon Phillips.