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Early Planting May Benefit Corn Silage

Planting corn early involves some risks, but they often are worth taking for grain production. Early planting also may improve corn silage performance, says Joe Lauer, Ph.D., a University of Wisconsin corn agronomist.

“I tell growers what they do for growing corn for grain is also what they should do for growing corn for silage,” Lauer says. “The same management steps that will optimize grain yield also will optimize silage yield.”

Timing of planting has the biggest impact on stand establishment. Soil temperature, seedbed condition (moisture) and weather following planting also are key elements in emergence of a hybrid.

Early plantings have a better chance of success in well-drained soils with limited residue cover. Selecting hybrids with high stress emergence ratings and using premium seed treatments can provide critical protection in stressful environments.

Results of 2014 Pioneer® GrowingPoint® PKF Silage trials show improved
yield and milk per acre with earlier planting compared to late planting.
These trials involved fields in Minnesota and Wisconsin. (See the following 2 charts.)
Results of 2014 Pioneer® GrowingPoint® PKF Silage trials show improved yield per acre with earlier planting compared to late planting.
Results of 2014 Pioneer® GrowingPoint® PKF Silage trials show improved milk per acre with earlier planting compared to late planting.

Pioneer research in Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2014 finds planting early (before May 20 in this case) results in higher average silage yields, milk per acre and starch content than planting later than May 20. In addition, later-planted corn showed less yield response to seeding rate changes than early planted trials.

Overall, studies are showing an economic consideration for planting corn silage early.

“We have data, especially from high-producing dairy herds, showing that early-planted corn often can return much more to the operation as silage corn than as grain corn,” Lauer says. “It provides a higher return through milk production.”

Lauer says attention to management may pay off even more for silage corn than for grain corn. “There’s much more opportunity to capture the value of corn through milk production than through selling it as grain,” he says.

(Source – http://www.farmmanagement.pro/?p=483&preview=true)

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