The Marinette and Oconto County offices of UW-Madison, Division of Extension are again poised to assist area livestock producers as they plan and start corn silage harvest. Four days of sample collection are occurring in 2021, at five sites throughout the two counties. Testing of corn fields for moisture is important to planning both when to start chopping and what field order to progress through. Chopping at improper moisture levels leads to problems in the fermentation process, eventually lessening the feed value of the stored feed and resulting in lost dollars for the farm.
The collection dates for 2021 are Wednesdays, Sept. 1 through Sept. 22, at the following locations and times:
+ Crivitz Feed Mill from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.; 504 Wilbert St., Crivitz, just south of Cty. Hwy. W.
+ Fendryk Farms from 9:45 to 10:30 a.m.; in front of freestall, just south of Cty. Hwy. P on 25th Rd.
+ Kuchta Farms from 11 a.m. to Noon; W6586 Cty. Hwy. M – use east driveway.
+ Peterson’s Dairy from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.; 6336 Goatsville Road – in front of freestall at SE corner.
+ Blaser Farms from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m.; 9267 Hwy. 22 – in front of shop, use drive by house.
Producers can also refer to the most recent Extension Agriculture Newsletter to have a copy of the schedule, collection hints, and other information. The newsletter is also available online at https://marinette.extension.wisc.edu/agriculture/agriculture-newsletter/
Sample collection is very important to getting good test results. However, this is difficult, as there is often moisture differences within fields, as well as across fields. Because of these differences, samples should be collected from all fields and areas of fields that have different varieties or growing conditions. In uniform fields, collect at least five plants in a W-shaped pattern from the area being sampled. In non-uniform fields, collect at least two plants from each type of plant moisture you encounter, but trying to maintain relative proportions that are found of each type in the field. Wrap the plant stems in wet paper and bring all your separate samples to the collection site nearest you.
High-quality corn silage can be produced in many different types of storage structures. However, each structure type – bunker silo, silage bag, upright silo, or silage pile – needs to have the corn silage at a certain range of whole-plant moisture to achieve the best possible results. If you have any questions about sample collection or silage harvest timing, please call Scott Reuss at the Marinette County UW-Extension office, 715-732-7510 or toll-free at 1-877-884-4408.