Home Farm Equipment Harvesting corn for silage | Farm Progress

Harvesting corn for silage | Farm Progress


Planting delays, poor ear formation, and lack of standability are just some the explanation why some farmers could need to contemplate taking their corn crop for silage. When making this choice, there are a couple of components to remember. These embrace the best way to optimize silage high quality, tonnage, agronomics, and pricing of the crop.

Optimizing Silage High quality and Tonnage:

The “milk line” methodology is broadly used to find out when a subject must be harvested. The relative place of the milk line within the kernel is an indicator of the plant’s moisture content material. For a extra exact indicator, farmers should chop vegetation up (sometimes with a small brush chopper) after which dry down the pattern with a microwave or Koster oven. Remember the fact that the ensiling storage method will decide optimum harvest moisture.

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Chopping Peak: Corn silage slicing peak and high quality are immediately proportional. At a slicing peak of 18 in., tonnage will go down in comparison with a 6 in. slicing peak by as a lot as 15%, however the ensuing silage has elevated in high quality (milk/ton). Growing your slicing peak leaves extra useful crop residue within the subject with solely a marginal lower in kilos of milk/acre. If harvesting drought careworn corn, preserve slicing peak above 8 in. to keep away from extra nitrates within the silage.

Crop Situation: Corn with foliar illness, poor crop situation, or different components that will make grain harvest a problem may cut back silage high quality. The price of extra tonnage to make a ration, problem packing the silage, and a chronic interval to attain steady ensiled situations could outweigh the problems for the mix.


Silage harvest sometimes begins earlier within the yr and removes the whole above-ground portion of the plant from the sector, so preserve these items in thoughts:


  • Nearly all crop residue will probably be taken. Bear in mind to guard the soil from erosion.
  • Harvesting silage offers a wonderful alternative to place in a canopy crop that may scavenge residual vitamins, forestall erosion, and construct soil microbe populations.


  • Silage removes roughly 3 times the quantity of (K2O) potassium {that a} grain corn crop would take away. For instance, a 200 Bu./A. grain corn crop removes 50 lb. K2 O within the grain whereas a 21-ton silage crop removes 153 lb. K2O.
  • Increased ranges of secondary and micronutrients may also be eliminated.


  • Due to the massive variety of kilos being eliminated, there will probably be extra truck/equipment visitors.
  • Since harvest timeliness performs a task within the silage high quality, harvest could happen when soil situations are lower than splendid, leading to extra compaction.


In contrast to a grain corn crop which has many markets and straight-forward pricing buildings, pricing silage requires farmers to have a look at a couple of extra metrics (fertility, high quality, grain value, and so forth.) to provide you with a good value for each the farmer and the client. Hold these factors in thoughts when setting a value with a purchaser:

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  • Take into account harvesting prices and the drying expenses/shrink that you’d have incurred had you harvested for grain.
  • Don’t overlook about nutrient elimination prices; the additional vitamins eliminated with silage must be changed.
  • If a silage-specific hybrid was grown to optimize high quality, there must be a premium based mostly on the dietary qualities of the silage.

Excited about planting Beck’s corn silage merchandise? Take a look at the ‘2021 Alfalfa and Silage Seed Guide’ underneath the ‘Product Guides’ right here: https://www.beckshybrids.com/Multimedia-Literature/Literature. For extra questions on managing and advertising silage, please attain out to your native Beck’s consultant.

Beck’s is the biggest family-owned retail seed firm in the USA that serves farmers in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. In keeping with a latest seed trade survey, Beck’s ranks because the third largest corn and soybean model in the USA. At their core, all Beck’s staff are Farmers at Heart. It stands for one thing particular. It has soul. It has reality. And it represents a neighborhood of farmers, staff, and sellers who attempt every day to hunt challenges, push boundaries and innovate. Beck’s has, and all the time will probably be, proud to serve a neighborhood of farmers who love what they do and who’re proud to be… Farmers at Coronary heart. For extra agronomic new and data, go to Beck’s Agronomy Talk web page or blog at BecksHybrids.com.


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