BMR helps cows hit peak milk
High peak milk production is one of the goals of early lactation. But feed intake usually can’t keep up with fresh cows’ energy needs, limiting milk output and potentially leading to excessive body weight loss during this critical time. One solution is to feed highly digestible forages to encourage higher dry matter intake.
Research shows that feeding BMR corn silage helps promote feed intake and milk production in early lactation and beyond. That’s because of the high neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFD) in BMR corn varieties that contain the bm3 natural gene mutation.
At Utah State University, researchers compared performance of early lactation cows fed either BMR or conventional corn silage.1 Cows fed BMR with the bm3 gene:
• Reached higher peak milk production
• Averaged 2 pounds more energy-corrected milk per day
• Consumed more feed after reaching peak milk
• Lost less weight in early lactation
Cornell University researchers fed BMR corn silage or conventional silage to cows during the transition period – from three weeks pre-calving until three weeks post-calving.2 After this six-week period, all cows switched to lactation diets containing only conventional silage through week 15 after calving. The BMR-fed cows:
• Consumed significantly more dry matter throughout the transition period
• Produced 5.06 pounds more total milk and 6.6 pounds more fat-corrected milk per day
Both studies concluded that BMR corn silage with the bm3 gene is a useful tool to enhance feed intake and milk production. If you’re considering feeding BMR to either fresh cows or the entire herd, consult with your herd nutritionist or Zoetis fresh cow specialist for guidance on transitioning rations to BMR.
1 Holt MS, Eun J-S, Thacker CR, Young AJ, Dai X, Nestor KE Jr. Effects of feeding brown midrib corn silage with a high dietary concentration of alfalfa hay on lactation performance of Holstein dairy cows for the first 180 days of lactation. J. Dairy Sci 2013; 96:515-523.
2 Stone WC, Chase LE, Overton TR, Nestor, KE. Brown midrib corn silage fed during the peripartal period increased intake and resulted in a persistent increase in milk solids yield of Holstein cows. J Dairy Sci 2012; 95(11): 6665-6676.