Evaluation of Corn Products for Silage Yield Potential and Quality

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Evaluation of Corn Products for Silage Yield Potential and Quality - 2022

 

Trial Objective 

 

  • Cattle producers across the Great Plains rely on corn silage as a feedstock. A desirable corn silage product should provide a combination of high tonnage and favorable quality characteristics.
  • The objectives of this study were to:
    • Evaluate eight Fontanelle Hybrids® brand corn products with relative maturities (RM) from 100 to 118.
    • Provide farmers with insight to different product options to help maximize silage yield potential and quality within their geography.

 

Research Site Details 

LocationGothenburg, NE   
Soil Type Hord Silt loam  

Previous
Crop
Soybean   
Tillage
Type

Strip tillage  


 
Planting Date 4/27/2022  
Harvest Date9/2/2022 & 9/9/2022 

Potential Yield
 (bu/acre)
270  
Seeding Rate
(seeds/acre)
32K

 
  • The study was designed as a randomized complete block design with three replications.
  • Eight Fontanelle Hybrids® brand RIB Complete® corn blend products with relative maturities from 111 to 118 were evaluated for tonnage and quality characteristics.
  • Sprinkler irrigation was used to apply 10-inches of water during the growing season. An additional 9.45-inches of rainfall occurred during the growing season.
  • The trial was strip-tilled on 04/25/2022 with a base fertilizer application of 29 lbs of nitrogen (N/acre), 60 lbs of phosphorus (P/acre), 25 lbs of sulfur (S/acre), and 0.25 lbs Zinc (Zn/acre).
  • Silage was harvested when most of the products were at abouty half to two-thirds milk line using a silage chopper without a kernel processor. Total biomass was collected and weighed. A sample of the freshly chopped material was collected and sent to Dairyland Laboratories Inc. for silage quality analysis.

 

image Figure 1. Corn kernels at ½ milk line.
image Figure 2. Silage trial at harvest showing plant health and stubble to gauge cutting height.

Understanding the Results

 

Table 1. Key yield and quality characteristics for 8 Fontanelle Hybrids® brand corn products evaluated to determine silage utility.

image
image Figure 3. Average silage yield (tons/acre) for eight Fontanelle Hybrids® brand RIB Complete® Corn blend products spanning relative maturities of 111 to 118.
  • The 112, 113, and 116-day RM products produced the highest tonnage.
  • In terms of silage quality characteristics, results for each characteristic were highly dependent on the specific corn product and not related specifically to RM. Table 1 lists the quality characteristics for each corn product tested. 

 

Key Learnings

 

  • Producers should work with their local Fontanelle Hybrids® brand seed sales team to identify the corn product or products with the desired silage characteristics for their operation.
  • Additional quality characteristics are available on request working through your local sales team.
  • Corn product selection for silage production depends on the RM that the grower needs for their geography.
  • Each product, regardless of RM, has a specific set of fiber quality characteristics and growers should consider the product options within their optimal RM range to suit their specific operation.

 

1210_198850

Corn Product Silage Quality and Tonnage - 2021

 

Trial Objective 

 

Corn silage is an important feedstock for cattle producers across the Great Plains. Desirable corn products should produce high tonnage with favorable silage quality characteristics.  

  • The objectives of this study are: 
    • to evaluate different corn products covering a range of relative maturities for high tonnage and good silage quality characteristics. 
    • to provide insights to farmers on different product options to maximize yield and quality potential. 

 

Research Site Details 

LocationGothenburg, NE   
Soil Type Hord Silt loam  

Previous
Crop
Soybean   
Tillage
Type

Strip till  


 
Planting Date 5/1/2021  
Harvest Date9/13/2021 - 9/21/2021 

Potential Yield
 (bu/acre)
270  
Seeding Rate
(seeds/acre)
32K

 
  • The study was set up as a randomized complete block with three replications.

  • Eight Fontanelle Hybrids® corn products with relative maturities from 112 to 118 were evaluated.

  • Irrigation was applied as needed using sprinkler irrigation.

  • Fertility included 27 lb. N/acre, 60 lb P/acre, 25 lb S/acre, and 0.25 lb Zn/acre applied with strip-till 4/27/21, followed by 120 lb N/acre applied with 360 Y-DROP® applicators on 6/24/21. Weeds were controlled as needed and no fungicides or insecticides were applied. 

  • Silage was harvested when most of the products were at approximately half to a two-thirds-milk line using a silage chopper without a kernel processor. Total biomass was collected and weighed. A subsample of the freshly chopped material was collected and sent to Dairyland Laboratories Inc. for silage quality analysis.

 

Understanding the Result

image Table 1. Key yield and quality characteristics of 8 Fontanelle Hybrids® corn products evaluated to determine silage utility.
image Figure 1. Average silage yield.
  • Results showed a general trend towards increasing yield as relative maturity increased from early-maturing products to some of the mid-maturing products around 115 RM but yield dropped off on some of the later maturity hybrids at 116 and 118 RM (Figure 1).

  • Milk/ton was not correlated with relative maturity of the products being tested.  The highest milk/ton value of 3254 resulted from a silage corn product with an RM of 118, while the lowest milk/ton value resulted from a silage corn product with an RM of 113.   % TDN correlated with milk/ton but not directly with RM (Table 1).

  • In terms of silage quality characteristics, results for each characteristic measured were highly dependent on the specific corn product and not related specifically to the relative maturity of the product.  Table 1 lists all of the quality characteristics for each corn product.

 

Key Learnings

 

  • Producers should work with their local seed sales team to identify the right corn product for their operation.

  • Corn product selection for silage production will depend on the RM that the grower needs to suit the geography.

  • Each corn product, regardless of RM, has a specific set of fiber quality characteristics and growers should consider all of the product options within their optimal RM range to find products that fit their specific operation.

 

7006_R4

Corn Product Silage Quality and Tonnage - 2020

TRIAL OBJECTIVE

  • Corn silage is an important feedstock for cattle producers across the Great Plains.

  • Desirable corn products should produce high tonnage with favorable silage quality characteristics.

  • In this study, the objective was to provide insights to farmers on which of the corn products evaluated have high tonnage and good silage quality characteristics.

 

RESEARCH SITE DETAILS

LocationGothenburg, NE   
Soil Type Silt loam  

Previous
Crop
Soybean   
Tillage
Type
 

Strip till  


 
Planting Date04/28/20  
Harvest Date09/15/20 

Potential Yield
 (bu/acre)
250  
Seeding Rate
(seeds/acre)
40K

 

 

  • The study was set up as a randomized complete block with three replications.

  • Five Fontanelle® corn products were evaluated.

  • Corn was sprinkler irrigated. Fertility included 100 lb N/acre applied with a streamer bar on 4/27/20, followed by 90 lb N/acre and 15 lb S/acre applied with 360 Y-DROP® applicators on 6/24/20. Weeds were controlled as needed and no fungicides or insecticides were applied. 

  • Silage was harvested when most of the products were at approximately half-milk line using a silage chopper without a kernel processor. Total biomass was collected and weighed. A subsample of the freshly-chopped material was collected and sent to Dairyland Laboratories Inc. for silage quality analysis. 

 

UNDERSTANDING THE RESULTS

image Figure 1. Corn product 15A410 at the time of cutting.
image Figure 2. Average silage yield (tonnage) for corn products tested.
image Table 1. Silage quality analysis metrics, performed by Dairyland Laboratories Inc.
  • Corn product tonnage was numerically different but variability in the study did not allow for significant differences to be observed (Figure 2).

  • Corn silage quality was different in all parameters tested (Table 1). 

  • In this trial, Fontanelle® corn products had similar average tonnage, but 17D650 and 15A410 had higher quality with the highest average milk per ton.

 

KEY LEARNINGS

  • Producers should work with their local Fontanelle seed sales team to identify which corn product is right for their operation.

 

7006_R4

Corn Product Silage Quality and Tonnage - 2019 

 

TRIAL OBJECTIVE

  • Corn silage is an important feedstock for cattle producers across the Great Plains.  

  • Desirable corn products should produce high tonnage with favorable silage quality characteristics. 

  • In this study, the objective was to provide insights to farmers on which of the 22 corn products evaluated have high tonnage and good silage quality characteristics.

     

RESEARCH SITE DETAILS

LocationGothenburg, NE   
Soil Type Hord silt loam  

Previous
Crop
Grain sorghum  
Tillage
Type
 

Strip till  


 
Planting Date5/23/19  
Harvest Date10/1/19 

Potential Yield
 (bu/acre)
250  
Seeding Rate
(seeds/acre)
36K

 
  • The study was set up as a randomized complete block with three replications. 

  • Twenty-two corn products were evaluated. 

  • Corn was sprinkler irrigated and weeds were controlled as needed. No fungicide or insecticide was applied. 

  • Silage quality was sampled for each corn product at ½ milk line. Sampling dates varied by relative maturity, but all sampling occurred in the last two weeks of September.  

  • Corn products were hand-harvested about 4 inches above the soil surface to provide a representative sample and were then chopped with a silage chopper. 

  • A subsample of the freshly-chopped material was collected and sent to Dairyland Laboratories Inc. for silage quality analysis. 

  • Total biomass was collected, weighed, and tonnage was determined for each corn product.

UNDERSTANDING THE RESULTS

  • Corn products did vary in silage quality and tonnage as there were significant differences in all parameters tested as reported in Table 1. 
image Figure 1a. Short-season corn products at harvest.
image Figure 1b. Long-season corn products at harvest.
image

KEY LEARNINGS

  • Producers should work with their local seed sales team to identify how their branded corn products performed in this study. 

 

 

7006_R4

 

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