5 things to keep in mind when ensiling corn

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It’s almost time to harvest corn and therefore it is important to decide what you need to do to get the best out of ensiling corn it as whole crop corn, corn cob mix (CCM) or crimping. Irrespective on what you decide its always good to keep these 5 things in mind, before, during and after the harvest to get the best results.

1. Make sure you have what you need

The most important thing is that you are ready with everything you need to get started with harvesting and silage making. Make sure you have enough covering material for the clamp, and if you have decided to use silage additive make sure you have ordered product at least 10 days before you plan to get started.

2. Harvest with the optimal dry matter content

The recommendations from SEGES are that whole grains should be harvested at a dry matter content of 31-33%, yet experience from the recent years shows that crops have had a dry matter of more than 35%. In addition, it is recommended that you wait to harvest until 2/3 of the cobs are ripe.

The challenge is, of course, that with a high dry matter content, it can be difficult to compress all the air out of the clamp and forage becomes too dry, especially in the upper part of the stack. This means that its more difficult for the ensiling process to proceed properly.

3. Make sure it is properly compressed

At best there, there are usually many people involved in the harvesting and ensiling work and often the work is left entirely to others to do. When more people are involved, there is always a greater risk of errors, so it is extra important to regularly check the cutting length and packing and closing of the silo to ensure that everything is done properly. Ultimately, you and your animals must live with the result for the rest of the year.

4. Use silage agents if necessary, but use the right ones

Life is what happens when you have everything else planned, so it may be necessary to harvest at higher dry matter content or degree of ripening because the weather did not develop as expected. In this case silage agents can go a long way to ensure that you still have a high-quality forage when you need to use it.

In general, biological silage agents require a lower dry matter content and are slower to lower the pH, that is why we recommend that you use chemical silage agents when there is a high dry matter content. With chemical agents you lower the pH immediately, and because you also protect against unwanted fungi and bacteria. In addition, you do not lose nutritional value when the stack is opened since the silage stays cool. This also reduces the need for products that keep TMR cool when mixing the complete feed.

Agmondo has several products on the shelf for this purpose and our recommendation is to use propionic acid based products for whole crop silage and crimping. Our recommendation ProSid MI700 which is a non-corrosive, non-HACCP or ADR transport demanding product which is highly concentrated. It has less evaporation and improved binding to the material and thus has a longer lasting effect than with pure propionic acid.

For corn cob mix (CCM) we recommend ProSid MI 531 which is specially formulated for use in CCM.

5. Thorough and robust covering of the clamp

After you have ensured the best conditions to produce quality silage, the last step is almost the most important. The silage must be covered properly as you only achieve the proper ensiling effect in an airtight / oxygen-free environment. Whichever materials you choose to use to cover the clamp with, it is important that they protect against wind, sun and not least damage from wildlife and birds.

How to cover the silage clamp properly

Packing a silage silo

Tips for making silage:
• Do not fill everything in the silo in one go; it is better to ..…
• Add a 20-30 cm layer of forage and then pack it down heavy machinery
• Continue packing ½-1 hour after the last load
• Cover the silo tightly and immediately after the final load
• Adjust the package weight of the machine to at least 0.25 * load capacity per hour. For example: If the capacity is 40 tonnes per hour * 0.25 = The machine should weigh at least 10 tonnes to be packed tightly enough.
• In order to manage when the harvesting capacity is high, you can place two silos at the same time, if there isn’t enough space for both loading and packing simultaneously in one silo.

About the author

Jason Lorjé

Jason Lorjé

Jason is CEO and founder of Agmondo and a veterinarian who has worked many years in the animal pharmaceutical and feed additive industry.

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