Timing is Everything
I often reflect on the rhythm of the season, especially during harvest. Quite honestly, I’m often held in awe of the circle of of life. The Byrd’s classic old song, “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, based on a favored book in the Bible (Ecclesiastes), eloquently illustrates this transition.
Whether we are ready or not, the seasons change. Within the season of corn silage, harvest timing is everything. Some quick timing points to review:
- Best harvest moisture for ultimate corn silage quality is 65- 70% whole-plant moisture. Sixty-five percent moisture works best for upright silos, and 70% or less is best for bunks.
- If the plant has all the heat and soil moisture it needs, the milk line moves fast and whole-plant moisture changes quickly. Intense fall sun and dry air conditions can cause whole-plant moisture to drop from ½ to 1 point per day.
- It doesn’t take long for whole-plant moisture to drop below 65%. Once whole plant-moisture is below 65%, it becomes more challenging to pack. The risk of mold and mycotoxin growth increases, plus kernel starch becomes harder.
At a minimum, be attentive to the half-milk line staging and moisture measurements to harvest the best possible corn silage.