If at all possible, dairy personnel putting up corn silage this fall should aim to store like forages with like forages. Especially in the Upper Midwest and Northeast, experts expect some corn to reach maturity while other fields of corn are expected to be harvested immaturely and after a freeze.
“This year’s corn silage harvest will present two distinctly different forages, oftentimes on the same farm, sometimes in the same field,” Joe Lawrence and Karl Czymmek wrote in a recent Pro-Dairy e-newsletter item. “To the extent possible on your farm, it is best to develop two different harvest strategies and management plans to manage the crop in storage and at feedout.”
The pair of Cornell researchers shared that managing the two types of forages differently will allow farmers to capitalize on the corn that does reach maturity.
“Properly mature corn silage is always valuable, but it will be at a premium this year, and optimizing the value of this crop for lactating animals will be compromised if it is blended with immature silage,” they said.
The immature silage can play an important role in next year’s feeding plan, but Lawrence and Czymmek warned immature corn runs a higher risk of being wet when it is put up. In that case, it should be watched for silage leachate and proper preservation.
To combat contamination from silage leachate, be prepared for its likelihood and position storage in an area away from waterways. As for preservation, the pair strongly recommend working with your nutritionist and agronomist to determine how best to inoculate, store, and feed immature silages.
If you’re looking for more information on this year’s corn silage crop and getting it up well, here are some more articles to peruse:
Loose silage is lost silage
Will your corn make silage?
Ensile forages worth feeding
Pathogens may abound in this year’s feed
Tips for frozen, immature silage corn