Determining when to harvest corn as silage to maximize yield and quality can be a daunting task depending on the environmental conditions the crop has endured during the growing season. Every year is different! The “normal” timing for harvesting corn silage depends on two key factors:
In addition to that rule of thumb, here are three tips for estimating when silage harvest will fall in a given year based on environmental conditions:
Example: The corn in the Baldwin, WI Knowledge Plot tasseled (VT) on July 20th. This would put our predicted silage harvest in the week of September 5th time frame with normal GDU accumulation but with the cool cloudy August it appears it will be 7-10 days later.
Table 5. derived from Carter, P.R 1991, Corn development and growing degree days, Agronomy Advise Mimeo Series 28.10. View here: http://corn.agronomy.wisc.edu/AA/pdfs/A046.pdf
For additional information on corn silage, visit these Extension resources:
Example of height of Legend Next Generation silage corn in Wisconsin. After over a decade of breeding and research, these hybrids offer dairy and livestock producers a quick, 30-day ensiling period and 10-12% more starch digestibility than a dual-purpose or BMR hybrid through the recessive “floury” genetics.