"It's amazing how much starch accumulation we see between early dent and three-quarters milkline, We will typically see a 1 percent point increase in starch content for every 1 percent increase in dry matter content during this stage of development."
Adequate kernel processing is important for optimal silage digestibility. Soderlund recommends setting the kernel processor at 3 mm to start out and make adjustments if necessary throughout harvest. "Ideally, we would like to see all kernels fractured and no cob pieces larger than your thumbnail."
Manage silage with a good inoculants
"I truly believe using a good inoculant today is a good management tool," Soderlund says.
Soderlund says there are several high-quality products on the market designed for specific needs, whether that's enhanced fermentation efficiency, reduced dry matter losses, improved aerobic stability or bunklife, improved fiber digestibility, etc.
Pioneer has developed crop-specific combinations of proprietary bacterial strains that can provide these benefits as well as help improve overall forage performance and help reduce ration costs. These Pioneer® brand inoculants include 11CFT, 11C33 and 1132 for corn silage and 11B91 and 1189 for high-moisture corn.
In addition, many farmers are now using these need-specific inoculants in different parts of the bunker or silo or using multiple silos so they can address specific management and timing considerations.
"Just like putting the right seed in the right acre to maximize production, we need to be thinking of inoculants in the same way," Soderlund says. "One size doesn't necessarily fit all, so we now have choices that are designed for specific needs."
Finally, covering is critical. Too often farmers wait until the silo is completely full before covering. That two- or three-day delay, especially if there is rain in between, will lead to some spoilage loss on top. Those losses can affect the bottom line, so anything that can be done to minimize losses is crucial in a time of high feed costs.
"Reducing shrink or managing the face of the bunker, keeping loose material cleaned up and getting the cover on as quickly as possible — those things are all going to pay dividends this year," Soderlund says.
Source: Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business