FOR MOST, THE TIME TO HARVEST CORN SILAGE IS NOW
Robb Wock, DPC, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC
September 6th , 2016
The Feed and Agronomy Team of All-American Co-op conducted another Corn Silage “burn-down” event in St. Charles Friday, September 2nd, and found an average moisture content of 69% on 78 samples. This calculates out to a Dry-Down-Rate of approximately ½ point per day if you go back 11 days to our previous event held in Plainview. While this is a fairly average rate of dry-down for Corn Silage, I think it is fair to suggest that this rate is likely to increase over the next couple weeks. Additionally we saw a wider-range in moisture developing in these samples, from a low of 59 to a high of 74. We often see this as the “harvest window” gets nearer because earlier-maturing varieties still standing in the field planned for storage in Harvestor silos represent the driest samples. Virtually ALL the samples were either fully dented or ¾ milk line, so certainly the kernels are ready. Waiting much longer is only going to mean a drier, more mature plant, leading to poor packing and poor fermentation, higher lignification & lower fiber digestability, and poorer ruminal starch degradability – all of which dramatically reduce the animals’ ability to convert the plant nutrients to meat & milk. Unfortunately “wet-fields” and poor soil conditions may stall off harvest for some producers in our trade territory.
For producers storing in Ag-Bags I believe our numbers would show that many of you will be ready for chopping in 4-6 days. 70% moisture right now with ½ point Dry-Down in the next 6 days brings these samples down to 67%. This will minimize the amount of nutrient loss from effluent or “running” that commonly occurs when Corn Silage is harvested too wet and stored in bags.
As a final thought remember that as we move through the month of September we approach the time where we could see a killing frost at any time (average date for Rochester is October 1st-10th). While this shouldn’t be a concern on Corn Silage this year, an earlier frost would certainly impact future harvest plans such as harvesting Hi-Moisture-Corn etc. If you haven’t already harvested EARLAGE you’ll find that you’ll want to do so immediately after Corn Silage this year … we checked 4 samples at our event with most of them between 40 & 50%, and one at 52. 40-50% is ideal for EARLAGE if you are storing in a bunker or pile. Again remember that for the 2nd year in-a-row kernel maturity is ahead of the plant.
If any of us at All-American can be of further assistance with your harvest decisions please let one of our team members know. Your business is our business – our job is to help you be more successful! Thanks for supporting these events and for choosing All-American Co-op.