Management Considerations for Corn Silage Production

Categories: GROWING, CORN
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  • It is important to understand corn hybrid properties when using them for silage.
  • Silage quality and digestibility data are provided for many Golden Harvest® hybrids.
Golden Harvest is committed to sharing agronomic knowledge with livestock-producing customers to help them grow more corn silage and benefit their livestock operation. Our Agronomy In Action Research team provides silage hybrid ratings to help farmers choose the best option to meet the nutritional needs of dairy and beef operations. These ratings are supported both by an analysis of approximately 790 company and third-party trial locations across 9 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 to 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.
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For more information on corn silage considerations, contact your local Golden Harvest Seed Advisor.

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