Corn Silage Harvest
Image by Christie Brewer, CCE Seneca

​Corn Silage Harvest Toolkit: 2020 Edition

​Corn Silage Harvest Toolkit: 2020 Edition

Each corn silage harvest season presents its own unique opportunities and challenges. The following is a summary of considerations and resources to consider in preparation for a successful corn silage harvest. 

2020 Opportunities

  • Lower rainfall generally results in improved corn silage fiber digestibility
  • Above average heat increases likelihood of harvest before “mud” season

2020 Challenges

There are many keys to corn silage harvest, and while they are important every year, they are especially important in a year when concerns may persist regarding sufficient forage inventories as every pound of forage successfully preserved counts more than ever.

Storage Planning
It is never too late to think about your silage storage resources. Plan ahead to assure that storage space is adequate for the tonnage that needs to be stored: improper storage setup and overfilling storages leads to significantly greater shrink losses. It is also important think about separating forages by quality to optimize their use by different animal groups. Article: Strategic Forage Storage Planning
Set up Chopper for Optimum Performance
Over the last two growing seasons a NYFVI sponsored project looked at corn chopper performance, with a specific focus on kernel processing and corn plant characteristics. Kernel Processing Factsheet Series

Preserve Every Pound of DM You Harvest
When there are concerns about adequate feed inventories there is no room for excessive shrink (spoilage losses). Monitor fields, harvest at the correct whole plant DM, and make every effort to ensile the crop properly, particularly when using bunks and piles, as shrink losses can be the highest in these storage systems.

  • PACK! PACK! PACK! – Work to achieve a high density by properly packing the silage
  • Reduce shrink losses
    • Improves feed quality
    • Increases storage capacity
  • Consider the use of scientifically backed bacterial inoculants
  • Immediately cover forage with plastic
    • Oxygen barrier products are worth the investment

Additional Materials:

Last updated September 8, 2020