Corn, silage

Sept 10, 2015. Harvesting the highest quality corn silage for feed depends on a number of factors. The overall quality of the silage is affected by whole plant moisture and maturity of the plant when ensiled. Depending on the type of silage storage, harvest moisture should range from 60-70 percent when bunked or bagged. Silage put up too wet will yield less, have dry matter losses and higher pH – losing palatability and consumption potential. It will also be subject to storage losses from  seepage of moisture and sugars. If it’s too dry, the silage will pack poorly, have too much oxygen in the mix and not ferment properly.

The most accurate way to determine moisture content and ideal harvest timing is through whole plant moisture testing, though it is a time consuming process. In some cases, kernel milk line can be used to determine when to start silaging or whether more moisture testing is needed. In general, silaging should happen between one-half to one-third milk line, depending on the weather, and correlates to 60-70 percent whole plant moisture. Whole plant testing is the most consistent method of knowing when to start silaging.

Members of the CPS team recently took part in a corn and soybean tour, where Wilt Billing, CPS Product Line Manager for Corn and Soybeans, demonstrated to agronomists how to assess milk line in corn.

“We noticed there are distinct variations between corn varieties and hybrids,” says Cynthia Dietz, Proven Seed Brand Manager. “To assess the milk line, break a cob in half and look at the kernels. When a kernel is split from dent to embryo tip, a white line divides the firm starchy portion of the kernel from a white milky portion.”

Kernals with milk line progressing to black line

Kernels with milk line progressing to black line

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