Management Considerations for Corn Silage Production

Categories: PLANNING, CORN
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Golden Harvest® is committed to sharing agronomic knowledge with livestock producing customers to help them grow more corn silage. To help growers choose the best silage hybrids to meet the nutritional needs of their dairy and beef operations, our Agronomy in Action research team provides silage hybrid ratings. These ratings are supported by analysis of approximately 790 company and third-party trial locations across 8 years of research and by our knowledge and understanding of each hybrid’s silage characteristics.

Hybrid Ratings Explanation
Silage samples collected at harvest undergo NIR (near-infrared spectroscopy) analysis by independent labs to derive the silage quality and digestibility data results. This data is then reviewed, along with our agronomic field knowledge of each hybrid, to assign each a silage quality rating within 4 categories: 

BEST = Best silage quality or yield content, relative to other hybrids.
GOOD = Good silage quality or yield content, relative to other hybrids.
FAIR = Fair silage quality or yield content, relative to other hybrids.
POOR = Poor silage quality or yield content, relative to other hybrids.

Silage Hybrid Management Considerations
  • Select hybrids well-adapted for the geographic region using local performance data whenever possible.
  • Understand that hybrid characteristics such as stay-green and increased starch digestibility are important for silage production.
  • Select hybrids best fitting specific needs for yield and quality. When comparing hybrid ratings, it is recommended that you compare ratings within a maturity group.
  • Plant early to optimize crop utilization of water, nutrients, and sunlight.
  • Plant at populations equal to or up to 10% greater than corn for grain.
  • Acknowledge soil nutrient removal for potassium and phosphorus will be higher for silage than grain production, due to the increased removal of crop residue.
  • Target a whole-plant moisture content of 60-70% at harvest, depending on ensiling method, with higher moistures best suited for storage in a bunker or pile.

NOTE: These ratings should not be used to estimate actual production per animal, but instead they should be used to determine relative overall silage quality and yield of each hybrid.
  • Yield - Calculated on a per acre basis and adjusted to standard moisture.
  • Crude Protein (CP) -  Indicates the percent content of this important feed component relative to other hybrids.
  • Neutral Detergent Fiber Digestibility 48 Hour - Estimates the ruminant digestibility of the NDF fraction.
  • Fat - Indicates the percent content of this important feed component relative to other hybrids.
  • Starch - Indicates the percent content of this important feed component.
  • Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) - Describes the energy content of feeds as the sum of the digestibility
  • of different nutrients.
  • Net Energy Lactation (NEL) - Feed effect on net energy for lactating cows based on acid detergent fiber (ADF).
  • Milk/Ton - An estimate of forage quality driven by starch content, starch digestibility and NDF; Milk/A Combines the estimate of forage quality (Milk/Ton) and yield
  • (Tons/A) into a single term.**
  • Beef/Ton - A proprietary estimate of forage quality driven by TDN; Beef/A Combines the estimate of forage quality (Beef/Ton) and yield(Tons/A) into a single term
Speak to your Golden Harvest Seed Advisor to learn more about available corn silage hybrids.

Photos are either the property of Syngenta or used under agreement.
Syngenta hereby disclaims liability for third-party websites.
Performance assessments are based upon results or analysis of public information, field observations and/or internal Syngenta evaluations.
Product performance assumes disease presence.

** Milk: Combining Yield and Quality into a Single Term, https://fyi.uwex.edu/forage/files/2016/11/Milk-2016-Combining-Yield-and-Quality-into-a-Single-Term-2.pdf

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