Difficult to digest: Starch!
Sub-optimal starch digestibility can compromise the energetic efficiency of dairy cows fed corn silage fermented less than 120-150 days. This is due primarily to the lack of complete breakdown of the corn proteins that encapsulate starch in the kernel. As the corn kernel matures, prolamin proteins, specifically zein, form cross-linkages that create a matrix that is not soluble in the rumen, preventing the starch from being available for digestion by rumen bacteria.
Starch is released over time
During the ensiling process, the acids produced from silage fermentation as well as natural “proteolysis” degrade the prolamin encapsulation, releasing starch from the zein protein. This process takes 4-6 months to fully release the starch and increase ruminal starch digestibility. The question is: Do you have the time to wait?