The sins of the Spring are now in full light with harvest here. In most of the Midwest, silage harvest is a few weeks behind schedule and for some farmers, the crop is looking quite crappy.
“There’s going to be some guys that have fantastic corn silage, but for those that got into late planting, it looks pretty bad,” says Jon Erickson from Mycogen Seeds.
Still, the cows have to eat and there’s no turning back now. So, what can you do to make disappointing corn silage, the best it can be?
- Plan harvest around whole-plant moisture levels. While it seems obvious, moisture content is a key factor in timing silage harvest. “First of all, try to get it off at the right moisture,” Erickson says. “Make sure what you get off is as high quality as you can have.” According to Erickson, the No. 1 way to ensure poor looking corn becomes the best silage it can be is to ensure the moisture content is spot on at harvest time
- Evaluate processing scores. Keep processing scores as high as possible, advises Ted Koehler Enogen feed ruminant nutritionist with Syngenta.
- Consider shortening chop length. A large number of farmers have gone to a one-inch chop length, Koehler says. If the moisture content is questionable, consider shortening the chop length to ¾ of an inch.
- Don’t skip inoculant. “I’m a big proponent of a good research-based lactobysilis inoculant,” Koehler says adding that the perception Enogen should be ensiled without an inoculant is inaccurate.
- 5Prepare for packing. “As green-chopped silage gets drier, it gets harder to pack,” Koehler says. Plan accordingly.
“We’ve got to do the best we can,” Koehler says. Similarly, Erickson says “Stay the course, and don’t give up now. Soon enough 2019 will be in the rearview mirror.”