The dry summer has many area corn producers disappointed and concerned that their corn crop may meet their production expectations according to Tim Schnakenberg, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
"The corn crop is deteriorating rapidly in areas that have missed key rains and producers are looking at alternatives, especially for their later planted corn," said Schnakenberg.
Chopping the crop for silage is one way to retain some value of the crop before it wilts down in the drought, even though the dry matter tonnage produced may be 10-50 percent lower in a drought compared to normal corn silage.
"If the corn is barren with little or no ear showing, one general rule of thumb for figuring what the tonnage may be is to multiply 1-1.5 tons of 30-35 percent dry matter corn silage per foot of stalk," said Schnakenberg.
Normally corn is chopped at 60-70 percent moisture, depending on the type of storage used, and when the milk line is one-half to two-thirds down the kernel according to Dr. Rob Kallenbach, state forage specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
"Drought-damaged corn usually has 85-95 percent of the feeding value of normal corn silage. One concern is that drought-damaged corn sometimes has either have too much or too little moisture for optimum fermentation so producers should monitor the moisture level of the corn that is chopped," said Kallenbach.