Cues for harvesting frosted corn

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The cool growing season in many parts of the corn-belt probably means that a significant amount of silage corn will still be in the field when the first frost occurs this fall.

In an article in the W.H. Miner Institute's Farm Report newsletter, agronomist Ev Thomas, offer the following hints for dealing with harvesting frosted corn for silage:

  • Don’t jump the gun after the first frosty night. Plant sugars act like antifreeze, meaning the plants continue to mature, making the crop somewhat tolerant to even moderate frost. Examine the crop before making harvesting decisions.
  • Time harvest based on a dry matter test, not how the crop looks.
  • If the plant is dead and the husks are still tightly wrapped around the ear, start harvesting as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.
  • Consider using a bacterial silage inoculant when ensiling frosted corn.
  • Make sure you get a forage analysis before feed-out.

Click here for more information (then scroll down to page 8).

Source: W.H. Miner Institute

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