W Iowa & E Nebraska “From the Field™” Crop Report 8/27/14

Labor Day weekend is just two days away, which means the start of chopping season in my territory.  A few producers around Sidney, Iowa, were chopping corn silage Monday, which is a full week earlier than last year. So let’s start thinking about the task at hand…

More times than not we chop corn silage a bit too dry. Purdue University, the University of Missouri and Iowa State University recommend cutting silage at 66-70% moisture. Here’s why:

  1. The #1 to cut silage at this moisture level is to capitalize on the best nutrients the corn plant has to offer.
  2. The corn will pack, and ferment quality will be greatly enhanced. If corn is too dry, the pack will allow too much air and cause spoilage.
  3. Another concern is how we pack corn silage. The narrower the tire on the packing tractor, the better the pack. Many producers say tire size doesn’t matter, but it does. It’s about how many pounds per square inch is available to force as much air out of the pile as possible. Particle size is also very important with a range of 1/2 to 3/4 inch for best packing results.