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Corn silage crop nears readiness

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[JULY 24, 2004]  URBANA -- Dairy and beef producers need to get ready to chop corn silage for optimal yield and quality due to the crop's rapid rate of maturity this season, said a University of Illinois Extension dairy specialist.

"Producers seeking answers to questions about this year's corn silage crop in central and southern Illinois might want to attend two programs later this summer," said Mike Hutjens. "The sponsors are Effingham-Clay Farm Service and Breese Agri-Pride FS. On Aug. 2 the Breese program will be presented at Agri-Pride, and on Aug. 3 the program will be offered at Sigel Park in that community.

"U of I Extension specialists will be on hand at both locations, along with FS agronomy and livestock nutritionists."

Dairy and beef managers are encouraged to bring four to six cornstalks of each variety they are planning to harvest as corn silage with them when they come to either location, Hutjens noted.

"These stalks will be processed through a commercial yard chipper and analyzed by near-infrared equipment to measure protein, fiber and neutral detergent fiber digestibility NDFD -- plus dry matter content," he said. "If your corn silage hybrid analyzes 30 to 35 percent dry matter, 8 percent crude protein, less than 26 percent ADF -- acid detergent fiber, less than 45 percent NDF and over 55 percent NDFD, you have quality corn silage and it is time to harvest."


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Cornstalks brought for estimation should be taken from 17.5 feet of a typical row, he noted. Livestock producers can bring in cornstalks starting at 9 a.m. These will be evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis, with results available within a few minutes.

A complimentary lunch will be provided at noon each day, and the program will end at 2 p.m. or when all samples are finished.

"Corn silage continues to be the most economical forage resource for Illinois dairy managers, supporting high milk yield and components," said Hutjens. "With low-quality legume-grass first and second crop forages, corn silage may be the answer for the 2004-05 feeding year."

For more details about the program, contact FS at (888) 374-2748 or (217) 342-9231.

[University of Illinois news release]

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