Effects of Maturing Stage of Corn Hybrids on Silage Yield, Feeding Value for Dairy Cows and Milk Production in a Cold Region of Japan

  • Received : 2006.04.17
  • Accepted : 2006.09.17
  • Published : 2007.04.01


This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of differently maturing corn hybrids on silage production and milk production per unit area in the northern part of Japan, where grain development occurs under decreasing ambient temperature. Both hybrids were harvested at the same time. The stages of maturity for the early-maturing hybrids (EH; 80 d relative maturity) and the mid-maturing hybrids (MH; 93 d relative day) were early dent and late dough stage, respectively. The plant yields for MH were higher than those for EH. The dry matter (DM) content of MH was lower than that for EH, and the effluent loss for MH silage was greater than that for EH silage. Therefore, the DM yields of prepared silage per area were similar for both treatments. Twelve multiparous mid-lactation Holstein cows ($58{\pm}13$ days in milk) were fed diets based on EH or MH silage in a crossover design with two 3-week periods. Cows were fed 3 kg of hay crop silage (DM basis) and either EH or MH silage ad libitum, and concentrates were supplied to meet NRC requirement for dairy cows. Silage DM intake for EH was found to be higher (p<0.05) than that for MH (10.0 vs. 9.1 kg/day). Milk production and milk composition for EH were similar to those for MH. Feed efficiency per total feed intake was similar in both treatments, although the feed efficiency per concentrate intake tended to be higher for the EH than that for the MH diet. These results indicate that differences in maturation in corn hybrids affect the effluent production of silage and the silage intake of dairy cows. It may be advantageous to plant early hybrid corn with a reduction in effluent production of silage as well as a reduction in purchased feed costs for dairy cows under the climatic conditions of the northern part of Japan.


  1. Bal, M. A., J. G. Coors and R. D. Shaver. 1997. Impact of the maturity of corn for use as silage of dairy cows on intake, digestion and milk production. J. Dairy Sci. 80:2497-2503.
  2. Huber, J. T., Graf and R. W. Engel. 1965. Effect of maturity on nutritive value of corn silage for lactating cows. J. Dairy Sci. 48:1121-1123.
  3. MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry). 1996. Feeding Standard for Sheep. Central Association of Livestock, Tokyo, Japan (in Japanese).
  4. Milligan, F. J., J. Quirke, M. Rath, P. J. Caffrey and F. P. O'Mara. 2002. Intake, digestibility, milk production and kinetics of digestion and passage for diets based on maize or grass silage fed to late lactation dairy cows. Livest. Prod. Sci. 74:113-124.
  5. Oshita, T., H. Otuka, H. Nishino, M. Takatori, H. Takayama, H. Igarashi, H. Nonaka and T. Nakui. 1999. Milk production and cost performance of high-producing dairy cattle fed on corn silage in the early lactation period. Grasslnd Sci. 45:J59-J66.
  6. Shaver, R. D., R. A. Erdman and J. H. Vandersall 1984. Effects of silage pH on voluntary intake of corn silage. J. Dairy Sci. 67:2045-2049.
  7. Valdez, F. R., J. H. Harrison, S. C. Fransen. 1989. Effect of feeding silage of early and late maturing corn planted at two population densities to lactating dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 72: 2081-2086.
  8. Mcdonald, P., A. R. Henderson and S. J. E. Heren. 1991. Water, In: The biochemistry of silage (Eds.). Chalcombe Publ., Marlow, United Kingdom, pp. 167-183.
  9. National Research Council. 1989. Nutrient requirements of dairy cattle. (6th Ed.) National Academy Press, Washington DC.
  10. Bastiman, B. 1976. Experimental Husbandry. 31:40-46.
  11. Harrison, J. H., L. Johnson, R. Riley, S. Xu, K. Loney, C. W. Hunt and D. Sapienza. 1996. Effect of harvest maturity of whole plant corn silage on milk production and component yield, and passge of corn grain and starch into feces. J. Dairy Sci. 79(Suppl. 1):149 (Abstr.)
  12. Horii, S. and A. Abe. 1972. Studies on the cell wall constituents of the forage. III. Chemical studies on the acid detergent fiber. Bull. Natl. Inst. Anim. Ind. 25:63-68.
  13. Ganoe, K. H. and G. W. Roth. 1992. Kernel milkline as a harvest indicator for corn silage in Pensylvania. J. Prod. Agric. 519-523.
  14. Steen, R. W., F. J. Gordon, L. E. Dawson, R. S. Park, C. S. Mayne, R. E. Agnew, D. J. Kipatrick and M. G. Porter. 1998. Factors affecting the intake of grass silage by cattle and predictionof silage intake. Anim. Sci. 66:115-127.
  15. Statistical Analysis Systems Institute Inc., 1988. SAS/STATTM User's Guide, release 6.03 Edition. Statistical Analysis Systems Institute Inc., Cary, NC.
  16. Coors, J. G. and J. G. Lauer. 2001. Silage corn. In: (Ed. A. R. Hallauer), Specialty corn. CRC Press, Florida, pp. 347-392.
  17. Association of official analytical chemists. 1990. Official methods of Analysis (16th Ed.). AOAC, Arlington, VA. pp. 69-88.
  18. Goering, H. K. and van P. J. Soest. 1970. Forage Fiber Analyses. ARS. USDA, Agric. Handbook 379, Washington, DC.
  19. Hunt, C. W., W. Kezar and R. Vinande. 1989. Yield, chemical composition and ruminal fermentability of corn whole plant, ear, and stover as affected by maturity. J. Prod. Agric. 2:357-361.
  20. Van Soest. 1994. Forage evaluation techniques. In: Nutritional ecology of the ruminants (2nd Ed.). Cornell Univ. Press, New York, pp. 108-121.
  21. Johnson, R. R., K. E. McClure. 1968. Corn plant maturity. IV. Effects on digestibility of corn silage in sheep. J. Anim. Sci. 27:535-540.

Cited by

  1. Evaluation of festulolium (×Festulolium Braunii) ‘Paulita’ haylage in dairy cows: Nutritive value, dry matter intake, animal performance and rumen degradability vol.57, pp.1, 2011,
  2. Evaluation of feeding value of forage soybean silage as a substitute for wheat bran in sheep vol.85, pp.1, 2013,
  3. Spatial pattern of windbreak effects on maize growth evaluated by an unmanned aerial vehicle in Hokkaido, northern Japan pp.1572-9680, 2018,