Maximize Energy Production From Grain Crops

Three ways to boost potential energy harvested from corn acres this fall and winter.

Published on: Aug 21, 2012
"Delaying harvest can lead to more issues in getting a good fermentation. So, carefully consider how long you can delay harvest for your particular silage storage structures. At least think about it."

Roth also cautions that this year's silage is maturing earlier than normal. So base your decisions on the crop maturity not the calendar.

Harvest high-moisture ear corn as snaplage
Snaplage harvest generally results in 10 to 15% more total digestible nutrients than shelled corn, and has an earlier harvest. Harvest costs will generally be lower with a forage harvester than combine.

There are some management issues with snaplage, he concedes. But they seem to be less than were encountered with high-moisture ear corn harvested in the past.

For a good summary of the pros and cons of snaplage, review a factsheet from the University of Vermont and this presentation at the 2011 Penn State Dairy Nutrition Conference.

This might be a good year for snaplage since our corn silage crops will likely be short and low in fiber, suggests the agronomist. Having another energy source that has more fiber in it will be valuable.