It’s silage time, so today I thought I’d share a few tips to help you select silage hybrids for next season.

Remember, not all corn silage hybrids are created equal! This fact was obvious today as we harvested a plot near Manning, Iowa. The standout hybrid today yielded more than 35 tons per acre. This 109-day Roundup® Ready Leafy (RR LFY) product had 12 to 14 leaves above the ear with a strong flex ear product. Needless to say, it was impressive! As an experimental hybrid that we’re testing here are Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, I have to say it has set an extremely high for performance.

As you select silage hybrids for next season, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The smaller the better for particle size. Smaller particles pack tighter, so there’s less oxygen within the pile.
  • Chopping silage at 65 to 70 percent moisture aids in the packing process.
  • Packing the pit with the narrowest tire work best because there is more pounds per square inch. Many producers believe that four-wheel drive tractors with large flotation tires do a good job leveling the pile. This is true, but the pounds per square inch are not there to pack the pile. The more pressure that is applied, the more oxygen that gets removed. Less oxygen in your pile mean less spoilage.
    Maybe a compromise is needed. Use the four-wheel drive to level. Then use another tractor with narrow tires and a heavy foot print.  The best silage I have ever come across was an open pit packed with a sheep’s foot, which was rented and delivered to the farm by a construction contractor.
  • Silage inoculation is worth the investment. Adding good bacteria to the pit speeds up the curing process, which pays with better feed quality.

Have fun harvest season and stay safe!

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