Producers often tend to harvest drought-damaged corn plants too soon, meaning silage has too much moisture, which can result in poor fermentation and ultimately lower feed value. Stalks of plants with brown leaves and stalks with small ears or little grain content will be higher in moisture.
“A quick way to determine if the plant contains too much moisture is to hand-squeeze a representative sample collected from the forage chopper,” says Keith Johnson, a Purdue University Extension forage specialist. “If water drips from the squeezed sample, the corn is too wet for ideal fermentation.”
Ideally, the crop should contain 60 to 70 percent moisture at harvest, Johnson says.