“I use the data collected to select corn silage hybrids with high yields and high digestibility,” he said. “High digestibility equals more milk produced.”

Lee recommended that producers consider both tonnage-yield and calculated milk yields when selecting hybrids.

“If possible, compare data from these tests to data from other tests,” he said. “Since there is no way to know what kind of growing season we will have — whether it will be wet, hot or dry — try to find as many hybrid performance charts from as many environments as possible. Hybrids that perform well in multiple environments have the best chance of performing well next year.”

Every year’s trial yields some unexpected information, according to Roy.

“For example, this past year across Kentucky we had fairly heavy disease pressure on the corn crop, not only silage but also the grain varieties,” he said. “So we were able to collect some data for gray leaf spot disease as well as corn rust. It’s little tidbits of information like that that we’re able to pull out of these trials that can also be valuable to the farmers.”

Dan Grigson, agriculture and natural resources Extension agent in Lincoln County, has been involved with the variety trials since their inception in 1998.

“Dairy and beef producers in Kentucky have come to rely on our work to make their decisions on what varieties to plant,” he said. “The performance trial is hard work, but we all feel it is worth the effort, because we are helping producers make decisions that can really affect their livestock production profitability.”

The UK Corn Silage Variety Trial is open to any company that wishes to submit a hybrid to the trial. Companies interested in submitting varieties into the 2011 trial should contact Grigson at 606-365-2459 or Roy at 270-384-2317.

Results from the 2010 UK Corn Silage Trial are available online at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/GrainCrops/varietytesting.htm.