Weather, Immature Corn Delay Silage Harvest

For the lucky, choppers are in the field for corn silage harvest. Not everybody is filling the bunker though, late maturing corn and cool weather have delayed corn silage harvest in some parts of the country. Adding to the headache, unseasonably warm weather the past week in parts of the upper Midwest.

“Producers may have to get their crop in when they can,” says Bob Charley, Ph.D., forage products management with Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “Delay may risk running up against wetter fall weather, making the ground too wet. Harvesting at the right stage of maturity is the over-riding factor in producing high-quality silage, but Mother Nature doesn’t always provide the perfect window of opportunity.”

A twitter poll by Farm Journal’s MILK at the beginning of the month showed 69% of producers hadn’t started harvesting silage yet.

As September marches on, concerns about frost and wet corn creep into the conversation about silage harvest. When that happens, some producers are tempted to harvest wet, immature corn. That can lead to a host of issues including spoilage.

“For immature crops harvested above 30 percent DM, producers should consider a combination inoculant like those containing homolactic LAB strains plus selected heterofermentative strains proven to benefit silage management,” Charley says. “With these changes, producers can still create high-quality silage even when harvest options aren’t perfect.”