Maize at high densities and problems of vine growth
Worldwide statistics on the area of corn planted and used as fodder are not readily available, this may be due, at least in part, to the fact that corn is very often planted for the dual purpose of fodder and grain, in some Asian countries and in Egypt, farmers plant corn at very high densities and progressively thin the crop using the plants as fodder; in some cases only the lower leaves are pulled off for that purpose, although both practices can lead to reduced yields.
▶ In Mexico and Central America, the stalks are cut above the ears, when they are well developed, to feed cattle. The green stalks that remain after harvesting baby corn are also used as fodder. There is not much information on the use of quality protein corn as a fodder crop; perhaps it could have advantages for making silos for dairy cattle. Silage of green corn cobs with quality protein is becoming more widespread in northern European countries where corn is difficult to grow to maturity.
▶ Credits: botany – [Image of Public Domain]
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It has been reported that o2-CCM is equal in yield but superior in nutritional quality to CCM corn normally used for swine feed, all varieties can be grown for forage. The highest yielding varieties are the tall regional varieties; hybrids, because of their small size, generally produce less total forage. A good forage corn crop can produce between 60 and 80 tons/ha.
Corn as fodder for cattle is a high-energy food, but deficient in protein, to compensate for this deficit, the farmer usually supplements corn silage as cattle feed with protein-rich products such as soybean cake, alfalfa and in the case of ruminant animals, it can be replaced by nitrogenous materials such as urea.
The conditions that a silage bin should have do not depend on the dry matter content of the forage at the time of harvesting, but on the care with which the silage is made, isolating it from air and water. In corn silage, the leaves are generally more digestible than the stalks, since the stalks contain higher levels of lignin than the leaves. Carbon dioxide and oxygen consumption create oxygen-free conditions that, in addition to favoring microbial fermentation, induce anaerobic glycolysis that ends with the production of lactic acid.
NOTE: Reference material.
Response of Maize Grown Under High Plant Density; Performance, Issues and Management - A Critical Review.