Stretch Your Corn Farther, Boost Milk Production

Cow : Lactating Cow Nutrition

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What if you could stretch your corn supplies a bit further or increase milk production just by re-evaluating how fine your corn is ground?

If corn is not ground properly, your herd could be losing milk performance potential. It is imperative that corn is adequately ground in order to ensure adequate energy availabilities and full utilization of corn.

Research shows that, when evaluating cracked versus ground corn, there is up to a 6.1 pound milk production advantage to feeding finely ground corn over cracked corn.1  The response on the farm will be dependent on how coarse the current corn being fed is. On farm responses to grinding corn more finely are commonly 3 to 5 pounds of milk.

Whether you’re purchasing corn from a vendor or storing it on farm, make sure it is ground fine enough prior to feeding.

When evaluating corn, the goal is to shoot for an optimum average particle size of 750 to 850 microns. Microns or particle size of the corn can easily be measured on the farm.

To evaluate whether corn is ground fine enough, purchase a hand-crank flour sifter. Weigh-out 10 ounces of ground corn and sift the sample until it appears that all particles and fines that can get through the screen have done so. Weigh out the remaining particles on the screen. Compare the weight of the material that remains on the screen with the following information and evaluate your grinding process accordingly:
•    1 ounce = 750 microns = excellent
•    2 ounces = 800 microns = excellent
•    3 ounces = 900 microns = good
•    4 ounces = 1,000 microns = fair
•    5 ounces = 1,200 microns = very poor
•    >5 ounces = >1,200 microns = disaster

Any corn below 22 percent moisture should be 600 to 700 microns. Samples of ground corn can also be submitted to a laboratory for more precise evaluation.

Learn how to boost milk production and maximize components.

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1Cooperative Research Farm, Technical Bulletin; Research update: Effects of corn and grain processing on production and intake; 1997