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Time to chop corn silage

Fri, Aug 27th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

There was a lot of talk at the Houston County Fair about of how fast the crops are maturing this summer. Looking at the latest Crop Weather report from Minnesota Ag News, I see Preston is the farthest ahead of normal of any spot in Minnesota. A whopping 313 Growing Degree Days ahead of normal.

Matt Bickell, Assistant Scientist at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca, has been monitoring the corn silage test plots in southern Minnesota; his latest report is from August 22. He believes the plot at La Crescent will be harvested at the middle or end of this week. Rock Dell and Hutchinson will be harvested after Labor Day.

The varieties he sampled were: an 80 day corn on the border, one-half to two-third milkline; Channel 205-94, 105 day corn, dent to seven-eights milkline, and seventy-four percent whole plant moisture; DKC 50-35, 100 day corn at three-fourths milkline and 71 percent whole plant moisture; DKC 59-64 109 day corn at 7/8 milkline and 71 percent whole plant moisture; and Pioneer 33F88 a 114 day corn at dent and seventy-three percent whole plant moisture.

These suggestions for Harvest Timing come from Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin-Madison. The types of problems you may have when your harvest timing is off include: too wet (> 70 percent), reduced yield, souring, seepage, and low intake by dairy cows; too dry (< 60 percent), reduced yield, causes molds to develop, and lowers digestibility, protein and vitamins A and E

The decision of when to harvest corn silage depends upon the ideal moisture for the storage structure. A horizontal bunker 65 to 70 percent moisture, bag 60 to 70 percent moisture, upright concrete stave 60 to 65 percent moisture, and upright oxygen limiting 50 to 60 percent moisture. Silage moisture decreases at an average rate of 0.5 percent per day during September.

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