Corn silage from corn treated with foliar fungicide and performance of Holstein cows

K. J. Haerr, N. M. Lopes, M. N. Pereira, G. M. Fellows, F. C. Cardoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Foliar fungicide application to corn plants is used in corn aimed for corn silage in the dairy industry, but questions regarding frequency of application and its effect on corn silage quality and feed conversion when fed to dairy cows remain prevalent. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of various foliar fungicide applications to corn on dry matter intake (DMI), milk production, and milk composition when fed to dairy cows. Sixty-four Holstein cows with parity 2.5 ± 1.5, 653 ± 80 kg of body weight, and 161 ± 51 d in milk were blocked and randomly assigned to 1 of 4 corn silage treatments (total mixed ration with 35% of the dry matter as corn silage). Treatments were as follows: Control (CON), corn silage with no applications of foliar fungicide; treatment 1 (1X), corn silage from corn that received 1 application of pyraclostrobin (PYR) foliar fungicide (Headline; BASF Corp.) at corn vegetative stage 5; treatment 2 (2X), corn silage from corn that received the same application as 1X plus another application of a mixture of PYR and metconazole (Headline AMP; BASF Corp.) at corn reproductive stage 1 ("silking"); and treatment 3 (3X), corn silage from corn that received the same applications as 2X as well as a third application of PYR and metconazole at reproductive stage 3 ("milky kernel"). Corn was harvested at about 32% dry matter and 3/4 milk line stage of kernel development and ensiled for 200 d. Treatments were fed to cows for 5 wk, with the last week being used for statistical inferences. Week -1 was used as a covariate in the statistical analysis. Dry matter intake tended to be lower for cows fed corn silage treated with fungicide than CON (23.8, 23.0, 19.5, and 21.3 kg for CON, 1X, 2X, and 3X, respectively). A linear treatment effect for DMI was observed, with DMI decreasing as foliar fungicide applications increased. Treatments CON, 1X, 2X, and 3X did not differ for milk yield (34.5, 34.5, 34.2, and 34.4 kg/d, respectively); however, a trend for increased feed conversion represented by fat-corrected milk/DMI (1.65 vs. 1.47) and energy-corrected milk/ DMI (1.60 vs. 1.43) was noted for cows fed corn silage with fungicide compared with CON. In conclusion, cows receiving corn silage treated with foliar fungicide had better conversion of feed dry matter to milk than those receiving CON silage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8962-8972
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Corn silage
  • Feed conversion
  • Foliar fungicide
  • Milk yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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