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Silage

Plan your silage production from seed selection to harvest and packing the pile with tips from these ag professionals.

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In the heat of the battle, all we think about is winning. The question is: What is winning when it comes to harvest quality?

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Piles are a popular storage system for corn silage on many livestock operations, particularly large dairies. However, an estimated 18 to 22 percent of the corn silage stored in piles never makes it to the feedbunk because too many piles are not sized and shaped correctly.

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The relationship of corn silage harvest moisture and maturity to its quality and performance is often underestimated. It’s important to minimize fermentation and storage dry matter losses because it’s difficult and costly to compensate for lower-quality forage in ration balancing and animal performance.

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At Table Rock Farm in Castile, New York, Willard DeGolyer and family, plus about two dozen employees, tend the dairy herd of more than 1,000 animals.

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Some aspects of ensiling remain constant, whether it’s corn, grass or alfalfa. Fermentation, for instance, of all silages is about the same. There are, however, some differences in harvest processes for grass silage.

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It takes 0.34 mega-calories (Mcal) to make 1 pound of milk. One of the least expensive feeds that can be used to obtain these calories is silage.

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