Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Corn Silage Ready for Harvest in Ohio

By Bill Weiss
OSU & OARDC, Dept. of Animal Sciences

In many areas of Ohio it has been dry and corn plants are approaching silage stage sooner than normal. To maximize yields of digestible energy and allow for good fermentation, corn for silage should be chopped at 30 to 35% dry matter (for bunker silos) and 32 to 38% dry matter for bags and upright silos.

In many areas of south and central Ohio corn plants contain 30-33% dry matter currently and chopping should be considered. Corn hybrid and local weather have a large effect on dry matter concentrations, so growers should start sampling fields and measuring dry matter now and when target dry matters are achieved they should start chopping. See related posting for information on how to sample and measure corn silage moisture.

With the expected high prices for corn grain, it is extremely important that livestock producers get the maximum nutrient value from their silage. Chopping too early (too wet) or too late (too dry) has substantial negative effects on the nutritive value of corn silage and affects how much grain supplementation is needed. Corn silage made at the incorrect dry matter concentration will reduce milk production (or growth) and/or will require more grain ($$$) to obtain the same milk and growth responses.