When Should I Harvest My Corn Silage?
Corn silage harvest for 2020 is closer than you think –In the heat of the day the plant is moving towards maturity every day. Fromdrought stricken areas to getting ahead of the fall rains, there is a way toget a more consistent harvest with the best fermentation to provide for thebest milk and best butterfat.
At 80% milk line, or 20% kernel fill, the whole plant isenergy rather than just the corn starch.
How is the plant energy? The corn plant provides a lot offermentable fiber. Fermentable fiber is a carbohydrate like corn. Corn silageis a wonderful forage, though the industry doesn’t always give this grass thecredit of being a forage because of the fear of the starch from corn. A poundof corn silage delivers approximately 35% starch, while a pound of ground corn has75% starch.
On farm applications provides each farmer with their ownuniversity and the proof of what works in the real world. As we found inKentucky, the outcomes of chopping at varying heights and milk lines supports a80% milk line, that’s 20% kernel fill, with the best milk pounds per ton:
o At 70%plus moisture, processing is only needed to break up the cob as the seed isstill quite soft.
o Minimumpacking also, as there is much more weight with the moisture for self-packing.Over packing and processing at this higher moisture breaks the cells of theplant, creating more leaching – One has to think differently on this, as thisgives the best opportunity for both milk and butterfat.
o Highermoisture has the best and quickest fermentation and the very best way inpreventing yeast and mold issues.
o Manysmaller dairies are limiting the amount of silage in the summer months, but theheat and reduced use increase the risk of spoilage and yeast issues. Thesolution: Harvest silage wet enough and plan for maximum feeding rate in thehot summer months, limiting if needed in the winter months.