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Silage Pit School offers producers expert advice

Published on 15 May 2013
Silage Pit School in Turlock, California

Harvest at the right moisture, pack well and seal tightly.

Those were key tips from Brian Holmes, Ph.D., for corn silage growers attending the recent Silage Pit School in Turlock, California.

A farmstead engineering extension specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Holmes was the keynote speaker at the one-day event, designed to help producers maximize their forage investments.

Holmes offered these guidelines on proper silage harvest and storage practices:

  • Harvest at the appropriate maturity and moisture content. Whole plant corn should be harvested at 65 percent to 68 percent moisture and hay silage at 60 percent to 65 percent.  

  • Reduce respiration losses by quickly storing silage after harvest and ensuring the equipment being used matches the job. This might require multiple filling and packing tractors for bunkers and piles.

  • Limit silage porosity by densely packing silage. Use heavy packing tractors and make multiple passes so that silage is efficiently packed.

  • Properly cover silage after filling by sealing edges, adding extra weight at the joints and sealing holes in plastic covers.   
  • Decrease feedout losses by disposing of spoiled feed and leaving a smooth feedout face.

Mycogen Seeds and other industry partners hosted the Silage Pit School. To learn more, check out these harvest and storage tips, visit the University of Wisconsin-Extension Forage Resources Web page or visit your local university extension website.  FG

Brian Holmes discusses how to reduce silage losses during harvest and storage at a recent Silage Pit School in Turlock, California. He spoke to dairy producers, herdsmen, custom harvesters and dairy nutritionists. Photo courtesy of Mycogen Seeds.


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