In drought, good corn silage rules still apply | News

2021-11-24 03:50:54 By : Ms. Li Ly

Orange, Iowa-The latest U.S. drought monitoring shows continued droughts in northwestern Iowa.

Beth Doran, a beef expert in the Department of Promotion and Promotion at Iowa State University, said that corn fields are beginning to dry out, but when making corn silage, the appearance can be misleading. She reminded producers that the rules for high-quality corn silage still apply.

Harvest at optimal humidity. For silos, this will be 65-70% moisture, for bags, it will be 60-70%. Silage that is too wet will rot and ooze too much. If it is too dry, the silage will not be packaged well and will become moldy. 

Increase the cutting height. Corn plants are traditionally cut 6 inches above the soil surface, but this is not a traditional vintage. In order to reduce the nitrate content in the shredded material, the cutting height should be 12 to 18 inches. The yield is reduced, but the nitrate content is also reduced.

Adjust the cutting length of the shredder. Corn silage harvested with a traditional shredder (no corn processor) should have a theoretical cut length of three-eighths of an inch. If you use a core processor, the optimal length is three-quarters of an inch. 

Grain processing improves the digestibility of starch. When the moisture content is less than 67%, the processing value of the grain increases. Another advantage of grain processing is that it reduces the sorting of corn cobs when feeding silage.

Consider inoculants. Inoculants can lower the pH of the silage and inhibit the growth of yeast and mold. This helps increase the storage life of silage.

Packaging is critical. The dry matter loss during storage increases as the density of the silage decreases. The recommended minimum density of wet corn silage is 14 pounds per cubic foot. 

Cover the silage in sand pits, ditches and stacks. After filling and fixing the plastic with soil, tires, or other heavy objects, perform this operation as soon as possible to prevent it from being damaged by wind.

Allow time for silage fermentation. Normal silage requires at least three weeks, but drought-stressed corn silage may take longer. Although fermentation can reduce nitrate content by 40%, test the silage before feeding to determine the nitrate content.

Carefully chopped green corn. Allow the cows to adjust to the green cut, feed them before introducing the green cut corn into the diet, and provide only what they can eat for a few hours. Cut the corn plant to a height of 12-15 inches or more and feed it immediately. Do not leave it aside for the next feeding because the nitrate content will increase.  

For more information, please contact Doran or your extended beef expert at or 712-737-4230.

Shareable photo: The corn stalks are dry.


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