Farm Talk

Crops

July 17, 2012

Corn producers are considering silage

Parsons, Kansas — The dry summer has many area corn producers disappointed and concerned that their corn crop may meet their production expectations according to Tim Schnakenberg, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“The corn crop is deteriorating rapidly in areas that have missed key rains and producers are looking at alternatives, especially for their later planted corn,” said Schnakenberg.

Chopping the crop for silage is one way to retain some value of the crop before it wilts down in the drought, even though the dry matter tonnage produced may be 10-50 percent lower in a drought compared to normal corn silage.

“If the corn is barren with little or no ear showing, one general rule of thumb for figuring what the tonnage may be is to multiply 1-1.5 tons of 30-35 percent dry matter corn silage per foot of stalk,” said Schnakenberg.

Normally corn is chopped at 60-70 percent moisture, depending on the type of storage used, and when the milk line is one-half to two-thirds down the kernel according to Rob Kallenbach, state forage specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Drought-damaged corn usually has 85-95 percent of the feeding value of normal corn silage. One concern is that drought-damaged corn sometimes has either have too much or too little moisture for optimum fermentation so producers should monitor the moisture level of the corn that is chopped,” said Kallenbach.

According to Schnakenberg, corn should be chopped to three-eighths to one-half in length to help the crop pack better in storage and exclude oxygen.

“Farmers should also be aware of the dangers of excessive nitrates in corn that was intended for grain. The drought has caused a buildup of nitrates in the forage that could be toxic to cattle if grazed or green chopped,” said Schnakenberg.

Making drought-damaged corn into silage is the best approach to reduce nitrate issues. The fermentation process can potentially reduce the nitrate content by 20 to 50 percent. Testing the silage both before it is chopped and after it has fermented in the silo is a good idea to insure it is safe for consumption.

According to Kallenbach, producers who find that nitrate levels are too high could increase the cutting height eight or 10 inches since nitrates accumulate in the lower stalks. Another tip includes diluting the silage in a ration with other low-nitrate feedstuffs.

Some producers may decide to wrap corn into a big round bale for baleage. Fermentation is more challenging in corn using this practice but it is an option with the proper equipment.

Instead of the normal four mil plastic thickness for normal grass silage, drought damaged corn should be wrapped to a six mil thickness to help avoid corn stalks from poking holes in the plastic.

For more information, contact any of these MU Extension agronomy specialists in southwest Missouri: Tim Schnakenberg in Stone County, 417-357-6812; John Hobbs in McDonald County, 417-223-4775 or Brie Menjoulet in Hickory County, 417-745-6767.

1
Text Only
Crops
  • Scientists complete chromosome based draft of wheat genome

    Several Kansas State University researchers were essential in helping scientists assemble a draft of a genetic blueprint of bread wheat, also known as common wheat. The food plant is grown on more than 531 million acres around the world and produces nearly 700 million tons of food each year.
    The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, which also includes faculty at Kansas State University, recently published a chromosome-based draft sequence of wheat's genetic code, which is called a genome. "A chromosome-based draft sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome" is one of four papers about the wheat genome that appear in the journal Science.

    July 22, 2014

  • Drought & poor wheat harvest in Kan. has effects on nat’l economy

    The Kansas wheat harvest may be one of the worst on record — and the loss doesn't just hurt Kansas, according to a Kansas State University expert.

    July 15, 2014

  • Watch for corn leaf diseases

    In general, corn in southeast Kansas looks about as healthy as any reasonable producer might hope.

    July 1, 2014

  • Consider wind when applying herbicides

    Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted fields west of Lockwood on June 18 for the crop scouting program.

    June 24, 2014

  • WheatTour-007.jpg SW Mo. wheat tour yields nutrient tips

    Laying down nitrogen on the wheat fields is quite possibly one of the most complex and critical operations facing producers.

    June 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Corn planting nears completion, early condition good

    With corn planting nearly complete and emergence keeping pace with the five-year average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its first forecast for the condition of the 2014 U.S. corn crop.

    June 10, 2014

  • Harvesting short wheat

    In many areas of Kansas, prolonged drought has resulted in short wheat and thin stands. Harvesting wheat in these situations can be a challenge.

    June 3, 2014

  • Controlling large weeds in Roundup Ready soybeans

    Controlling large weeds is often considerably more difficult than controlling smal-ler weeds. The following are some suggestions for controlling larger troublesome weeds in soybeans.

    May 28, 2014

  • aflatoxin-corn.jpg Aflatoxin risk looms large for corn growers

    To diversify their farms and tap into high demand for one of agriculture’s most profitable crops, dryland farmers more familiar with growing wheat and milo are eager to try their hand at corn.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kan. wheat crop smallest since 1996

    WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is expected to produce its smallest winter wheat crop since 1996, an indication of a deepening drought across the nation's wheat belt, the government said in its first official forecast of the growing season.

    May 13, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content