Many livestock growers are interested in exploring options for snaplage. The primary goal is to get a very clean snap of the ear while reducing the amount of plant parts.
Snaplage is gaining in popularity for three primary reasons:
1. Ease of harvest. Snaplage can be processed in a single operation as compared to rolled high moisture corn (RHMC), which has to be combined and then ground at the silo. Snaplage also can be harvested sooner, which allows livestock growers to plant cover crops or apply manure in the fall.
2. High ruminal digestibility if moisture is correct.
3. Additional fiber is provided by husk, cob and shank. Working closely with a feed advisor helps maximize nutritional benefits and maintain rumen stability. While most hybrids will work for snaplage, there are some key features that allow for better harvestability. To achieve this, look for the following:
- Super healthy plants reduce the potential of stalks breaking from disease or insect damage. Keep in mind, Latham’s VT Double PRO® and SmartStax® corn products can help reduce risk of insect damage. Fungicide also helps maintain plant health.
- Flared brown husk on a super healthy green plant allows for a clean snap; the ear will pop out once it’s in contact with the harvester snapper rolls.
- Girthy ear, exhibiting 18 or more kernels around, helps facilitate a cleaner snap and allows the ear to easily pop out of flared brown husk. Ratings can be found in the “plant characteristics” section of Latham® Seed Guide.
- Softer starch hybrids help increase starch digestibility. Look for lighter test-weight hybrids, which tend to correlate to softer starch and more digestible fiber.
Harvest moisture is critical to getting desired results. Using an inoculant helps preserve the nutrient integrity and reduce any risk of additional mold and mycotoxin growth that could occur, especially in the higher moisture environments. There any many good inoculants, but in my experience, I’ve found that buchneri bacteria from Lallemand Animal Nutrition offers the most protective stability. For more information, go to Lallemand: http://lallemandanimalnutrition.com/en/united-states.
As you write your 2018 crop plan, remember to consider the end use before choosing your corn products. Type this link into your browser for additional tips on choosing silage and snaplage hybrids: http://bit.ly/2xO0Idl