With the high price of corn and the ability to grow more yield per acre. Many innovative dairymen have started to grow corn for earlage. By feeding earlage they are able to replace rolled corn in their rations and feed their cows more economically. Our current earlage analysis average 55% dry matter and 53.5% starch with the Net Energy of Lactation (NEL) of 0.90 Mcal/lb. Bagging may be the optimal way to store this high quality feed. Where necessary a small well covered and maintained pile on concrete can be a reasonable alternative.
Several factors play a critical role in the quality of your corn silage. The list below are a starting point of what we focus on. Adjustments are made continuously throughout the harvest to ensure high quality end product.
- Stage of Maturity at Harvest
- Appropriate Chop Length
- Chop Quality/Consistency
- Complete Kernel Processing
- Rate of Fresh Product Delivery to Pile or Bag
- Packing Density Greater than 15DM#/ft³
- Type and Speed of Cover
- Feed Out and Face Management
Stage of Maturity at Harvest:
Complete pollination, tasseled, ½ milk line, ¾ dent and 34% dry matter in the field
Appropriate Chop Length:
¾ inch theoretical, 17 millimeters
Sharpen Knives every 1,500 ton
Complete Kernel Processing:
Rate of Fresh Product Delivery to Pile or Bag:
4.5 tons per 1,000 pounds of packed tractor per hour
Packing Density Greater than 15 DM#/ft³:
Multiple tractors often needed on today's modern dairy
Type and Speed of Cover:
Well maintained traditional silage plastic is common. Double Layer SiloStop™ seals out oxygen and reduces top crust. Which ever method you use it is vitally important to cover and seal immediately after the last load is delivered and packed.
Feed Out and Face Management:
Optimal feed out is 6" across the entire face daily. A flat face will reduce energy loss and prevent oxygen infiltration. Whether you choose to invest in a facer or simply use a loader bucket you will want to keep your entire silage face flat.
2010 Corn Harvest: