East Central/Select Sires Blog

Chance favors the prepared mind

By Dr. John Doerr, Ph.D, PAS, Dpl. ACAP, Vice President, Science and Technology
Posted January 2, 2019
That title is a ‘near’ quote attributed by microbiologists throughout the world to Louis Pasteur.  It simply means that the better you know your subject the better chance you will make worthwhile decisions about it.  For Louis that meant getting the experiments right the first time!  But in today’s world it can also mean just plain being prepared and not getting blind-sided.  

Recently (Nov. 30, 2018), Jim Dickrell reported in Dairy Herd Management that some portions of the mid-West might be having some significant issues with digestibility of corn silage.  Dr. Eastridge (Ohio State Univ.) pointed to the above-typical rainfall that hit some of the region in August and after.  For many areas, that meant late harvest of silage with “greater maturity, higher dry matters, and harder corn kernels” all ending with lowered starch digestibility.  He goes on to suggest a few ways to get around this problem.  I am, of course, taken by his #3 reminder.

#3. After these wet conditions and longer residence time in the field, “be watchful for signs of molds that produce mycotoxins”.  I’ll go a step further.  Count on toxigenic molds being present and with full oxygenation, count on both higher amounts and greater diversity of mycotoxins.  Now that article purported to describe conditions in the mid-West.  It did mention analytical results from the mid-Atlantic area.  Let me comment on that, too!  My area of southern PA from April 1 to September 1 got double the normal rainfall (57 inches vs. norm of 25.5 inches), and it really hasn’t stopped yet.  So, if you are open to following the admonition from Pasteur, above, get your mind prepared to test for and act against a real mycotoxin challenge on your dairy as we go into the new crop year and begin using 2018 silage.  

If you’re not sure what you need to be doing in that regard, give us a call at the Agrarian office, or contact your regional Agrarian representative, or get in touch with a Select Sires salesman.  Any of those can assist you in putting together a rational protection strategy for your herd.