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NNY Harvest Data to Add to BMR vs. Non-BMR Corn Research
New York Ag Connection - 10/04/2017

The 2017 corn harvest in Northern New York is providing data to researchers with a grant from the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program to compare forage quality and yield between two distinct types of corn.

'We are interested to see if yields for the 2017 crop will continue to show no consistent difference between the BMR and non-BMR hybrids grown for silage,' said project leader Eric O. Young, research agronomist at the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Chazy.

'In our regional trials to date the BMR hybrids have had a distinct advantage in fiber digestibility and therefore milk production potential,' Young added.

Brown MidRib, or BMR, corn has a naturally-occurring genetic variation that produces higher fiber digestibility that, in turn, increases the milk production potential of dairy cows. However, farmers are concerned that BMR corn may not yield as well as non-BMR corn hybrids.

'Until this project funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program there has been relatively little research evaluating performance among brown midrib hybrids and non-BMR hybrids with respect to yield and forage quality,' Young noted.

The research in Northern New York includes commercially-available BMR hybrids currently on the market.

Data from the 2017 harvest will be compared with trial results with five corn hybrids grown at two farm sites in 2015 and 2016. Crop samples were evaluated for yield, digestibility, percent dry matter, acidity, starch and other components, silage fermentation and quality after harvest.

Young notes, 'The differences in yield, starch, and fiber digestibility all have important implications for dairy ration formulation and farm economics. Our early results in the Northern New York trials have shown clear differences in fiber digestibility related to corn hybrid genetics.'

This research provides a data foundation for analyzing the potential milk production impact of using BMR and non-BMR hybrids in the dairy cow total mixed ration.

The 2015 and 2016 NNY BMR evaluation reports are posted on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.

NNY Agricultural Development Program funds agricultural research and technical assistance in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

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