Farmers will now be able to determine corn silage nutrient quality on-the-go with John Deere HarvestLab. HarvestLab can now predict crude protein, starch and fiber (ADF/NDF) in addition to dry matter content, which it previously measured. Called Constituent Sensing, the expanded capabilities are important nutrient factors in livestock cattle and dairy feed.

Near-infrared technology is used to determine the constituent characteristics of corn silage. This technology has proven to be highly reliable under tough field conditions over the past six years, according to Steve Siegel, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group. The device is used on John Deere self-propelled forage harvesters to monitor corn silage at harvest. It can be disconnected for use as a stationary unit to evaluate silage nutrient quality at the time of feeding.

“We partnered with DairyLand Labs, a recognized expert in forage analysis, to add these other nutrient analysis capabilities to John Deere HarvestLab,” Siegel says. “With real-time nutrient analysis, producers and nutritionists can more easily and quickly analyze feed rations for crude protein, fiber and other factors and make adjustments on a daily basis to improve nutrition and reduce feed variability.”

The HarvestLab Constituent Sensing enhancement also enables more precise application of silage inoculants at harvest because rates can be adjusted according to crop and dry matter readings. The result is higher quality silage with greater feed value and less spoilage.

Siegel adds that John Deere received a Silver Medal for the HarvestLab technology at the 2011 Agritechnica, the world’s largest agricultural equipment show held in Hanover, Germany, in November.

“The use of this technology is growing in importance with the high cost of feed and livestock,” he adds. “John Deere Constituent Sensing can be integrated with the Documentation system on GreenStar 2630 displays installed on John Deere forage harvesters.”

For more information about John Deere HarvestLab and its new Constituent Sensing features, visit your local John Deere dealer or visit www.JohnDeere.com