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Corn-Sunflower Silage Mix
You can increase the protein and fat content of corn silage by growing it in alternating rows with sunflowers, according to researchers at the Western Washington Research and Extension Center in Puyallup, Wash.
Extension agronomist Steve Fransen says the unique cropping arrangement takes advantage of the best features of both crops. "The mix is better than either crop alone. Sunflowers are too high in fat and have low digestibility while corn is too low in fat and not high enough in protein. The mix of the two results in a crop with higher
digestibility, higher protein and fat, and a good level of fiber," says Fransen, noting that in tests at the research station, cows fed the mix produced the same amount of milk on less feed.
The mix contains 8 to 10% fat and about 10.6% crude protein which compares to about 3% fat and 9.4% protein for corn alone.
One problem with planting the mix is that sunflowers generally are planted shallower than corn. The researchers used a Deere 4-row planter and placed the seed at an average depth between the two. Crops were planted in alternating double rows so that corn could support the easily lodged sunflowers. The corn/sunflower mix was harvested with a 2-row chopper, taking one row of corn and one row of sunflowers at a time so that the machine did the actual mixing of the crops.

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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #4