Are You Ready to Harvest Corn Silage?

The time to harvest corn silage is nearing. We took some measurements this week in Southeastern PA to see just how close we are.
Are You Ready to Harvest Corn Silage? - News


Table 1: Corn Silage Moisture from 4 farms in Southeastern Pennsylvania as of August 27, 2018

HybridDOPRMPPAMilk Line
Pioneer PO843AM8-May108340000.2574%
Growmark FS 58R478-May108360000.5068%
Seedway 6630 Gen SSRIB8-May110320000.6666%

As you gear up to take off corn silage, remember there are some simple harvest practices that can impact the quality of your silage.

  • Chop height – Corn for silage is looking good in many parts of the state; Consider chopping higher to improve your grain to stover ratio. Though you can expect 7-8% yield reduction per foot of stubble, you can improve quality.
  • Chop length and kernel processing – Take the time to assess how your cutter head and rollers are performing as dry down continues. The Penn State Particle Separator can help provide some guidance on this. Silage processing is surely an art -- ensuring that we chop slow enough to get good processing and a small enough chop to pack easily, but moving swiftly enough to fill the bunk quickly and be efficient with fuel use. Be sure to inspect all harvest equipment, replacing hydraulic hoses and sharpening cutting knives to minimize downtime while filing the bunk.
  • Bunk Density – Think about ideal moisture for packing, as well as the delivery rate, packing time and tractor weight. Refer to our Bunker Density Study for some reminders, including limiting overfill, sweeping out your empty bunk, and repairing cracks to exclude oxygen.
  • Inoculate – Though it is not as significant in corn silage as in haylage, an inoculant may work to improve fermentation. However, it is not a defense against improper harvest moisture.

More harvest considerations can be found in our Corn Silage Production and Management Article.