Alternatives for drought-stunted corn


Alternatives for drought-stunted corn

Some farmers are considering harvesting corn for silage or baleage because of drought conditions.

University of Minnesota Extension corn agronomist Jeff Coulter says in the driest areas, corn has only grown to about three feet tall with few if any ears on the plant.

He tells Brownfield that corn can be chopped for silage if harvest moisture is greater than 55 percent.

“And that (also) depends on the method of storing that corn silage. But if that corn moisture is low (like) 40 to 55 percent, then corn baleage is a better option.”

Coulter says the key to corn baleage is keeping oxygen out.

“Think about using a disc-bine or a disc mower, those tend to work best. And when doing so, you want to take tension off of the rollers, otherwise the ears can be torn off the plant.”

He says the corn should be laid in a windrow and baled up with as much tension as possible.  Coulter then recommends an extra roll of net wrap and at least six millimeters of plastic to encompass each bale.