Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Translational Animal Science, 2022, 6, 1–10


Open access.


Three experiments evaluated the effects of three corn silage hybrids, inclusion, and nutrient digestibility in growing and finishing diets. The three hybrids tested included a control (CON), a hybrid containing a brown midrib (bm3) trait (BM3), and an experimental bm3 hybrid with the soft endosperm trait (BM3-SOFT). Experiment 1 utilized 360 crossbred steers (body weight [BW] = 334; SD = 25 kg) to evaluate inclusion of silage in a finishing diet at (15% or 45% of diet dry matter [DM]) and silage hybrid (CON, BM3, or BM3-SOFT). Experiment 2 and 3 utilized 216 crossbred steers (BW = 324; SD = 10 kg) and six ruminally fistulated steers (BW = 274; SD = 27 kg), respectively, to evaluate effects of either CON, BM3, or BM3-SOFT silage hybrids on performance and nutrient digestibility in growing diets. In Exp. 1, there was a silage inclusion × hybrid interaction for average daily gain (ADG) and gain-to-feed ratio (G:F). All treatments with 15% silage had greater (P ≤ 0.04) ADG and G:F compared with 45% silage. Cattle fed BM3-SOFT had greater ADG and G:F than cattle fed CON or BM3 when silage was included at 15% of the diet. When silage was fed at 45% of the diet DM, ADG did not differ between cattle fed either bm3 hybrid. Cattle fed BM3 had the greatest G:F (P < 0.01), with no difference between BM3-SOFT and CON. At 15% silage inclusion, hot carcass weight (HCW) was greater (P < 0.01) for cattle fed BM3-SOFT compared with cattle fed CON and BM3 but did not differ between cattle fed BM3 and CON. At 45% silage inclusion, steers fed either bm3 hybrid did not differ in HCW but were both heavier (P < 0.01) compared with cattle fed CON. In Exp. 2, ending BW, dry matter intake (DMI), and ADG were greater (P < 0.01) for steers fed either bm3 hybrid compared to steers fed the CON, but not different between steers fed the bm3 hybrids. There were no differences (P = 0.26) in G:F between the silage hybrids. In Exp. 3, steers fed either bm3 had greater (P < 0.01) neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) digestibility than steers fed the CON. Ruminal pH was lower (P < 0.01), and total volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration was greater (P < 0.01) for steers fed bm3 hybrids compared to steers fed CON. Feeding silage with the bm3 trait improved fiber digestibility, which increased DMI and subsequent ADG in high-forage growing diets. Feeding corn silage with the bm3 trait improved performance compared to non-bm3 corn silage when included above typical roughage concentration.