The 2023 World Dairy Expo (WDE) just wound up with some notable repeat winners. First of all, Erbacres Snapple Shakira ET, a Holstein cow who lives in Quebec, but was bred in Illinois (just a few miles south of me here in Wisconsin) claimed her second Supreme Champion awasrd for Ferme Jacobs and partners. Shakira last won the WDE Supreme Champion award in 2021
The other championship repeat performance? The WDE Forage Analysis Superbowl (FASB) was again dominated by crops from KingFisher Seeds. Of the twelve Superbowl category champions, seven championships were won by the seed suppliers of Forage Innovations and, of course, our clients who planted and harvested them.
KingFisher won The Quality Counts–Corm Silage, Quality Counts–Hay/Haylage, Dairy Hay, Mixed Haylage, Baleage, and the BMR Corn Silage. Not a bad day!
The biggest news in the contest was the upheaval in the BMR Corn Silage category. Mycogen, now Brevant, who has also been the major sponsor of the FASB for many years, had a category that could only be entered by their own customers. For a short time period, Pioneer made a largely futile plunge into the fray, but later merged (i.e., Dow and DuPont) rather than compete. In 2022, and with only one entry, KingFisher’s KF 59B70 finished second and had the highest Milk Per Ton (MPT) of all corn silages entered at 4107.
In the 2023 FASB, KingFisher 59B70 finished first, plus added 4 additional spots in the top ten! The champion additionally had the highest MPT, 4270, of the entire FASB! Another KingFisher BMR sample was 2nd with 4066 Milk per ton. The next highest non-KF hybrid was over 100 pounds milk per ton less.
In a turnabout makes fair play, Brevant won the Conventional (non-BMR) Corn Silage with KingFisher at 2nd, 3rd, 4th, plus 10th. A total of nine KingFisher (plus RedTail) hybrids populated the 20 spots in the two (BMR and non-BMR) corn silage categories.
So where in the world did KingFisher get a different kind of BMR?
Where we got it is not important right now, but this hybrid is different. Let’s let the winner of the FASB BMR CS, Jordan Zirbel of Zirbel Dairy Farm, tell us his story. Jordan, the crop manager, farms with his parents, sister, and brother-in-law and of course, his wife Alyssa who handles all the “busy” paperwork. Brother-in-law, Kris Scheider is the herdsman, his wife Chelsea (and Jordan’s sister) is the bookkeeper. Mom and Dad, Mike and Sandy are still part-owners and involved in the whole operation. The farm is located in De Pere, WI near Green Bay, WI, and milks 1000 Holsteins.
The Zirbels had been planting the other BMR for years, and became disappointed with ear size, starch level, yield, and overall agronomic strength of their former BMR. Three years ago, on Daniel Olson’s recommendation, Jordan tried some KF 59B70 from KingFisher alongside their Brevant BMR. Planting populations were 29,000 for both hybrids. The crops were segregated for feed-out, but already during the growing season major differences were seen. The KF BMR leaves were huge, the ears were more than noticeably bigger, and the drought tolerance (deep roots) was definitely improved. These advantages have been extremely “consistent” through the two ensuing years with KF BMR according to Jordan.
As of now the floury starch feature of the hybrid is not as a big of difference for them since the Zirbels maintain no less than a 9-month supply of silage in reserve. The CS is always well fermented by feedout. That margin has creeped up to a two-year supply now since the yield of the KF BMR even in a bad field is as much as the best yield of the previous BMR. Where 18 tons was good in the past, the whole farm has averaged 26 tons/acre for the year (2022) which produced to FASB winner. New crop management plans are being made to allow for more cash crop farming (obviously, some new profit potential) in the wake of the consistent, increased yield of the KF BMR. It is bad for KingFisher, but less corn will be needed to ensure the Zirbel’s corn silage supply. And at the same time, the price point for the KF BMR is less, also. It’s a win-win for Zirbel Dairy Farms.
As far as the cows go, they have not missed a beat with the same high production as before with the old BMR
Want some for your farm? You can be a winner, too!
KF 59B70 is a tall vigorous hybrid that will stand out when compared to the current BMR you use. A kind of horse of a different color! It has a daylight-sensitive trait (not GMO) which allows it to move further North and has the effect of shortening days to maturity. A 116-day BMR, KF 66B80 is available for further South. 66B80 is medium-tall and again has excellent stalk expansion and ear flex.
Potential shorter-day hybrids were in plots in 2023 and have looked good. Stay tuned! The version which will chop itself is still on the drawing boards!
If you are interested in winning Corn Silage, we have something for you in this format or in our Better than BMR (BTBMR) lineup. You can reach Daniel @ firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com or 608-516-0101 with any questions.