Chopping Corn Silage

Posted: September 23, 2021

I’m confused. I always thought farmers harvested corn when the plant is tan-colored and mature. But I saw machines harvesting green plants of corn. Tell me more…

I’m confused. I always thought farmers harvested corn when the plant is tan-colored and mature. But I saw machines harvesting green plants of corn. Tell me more…

If you see farmers harvesting corn when the plant is still green they are either picking sweet corn or they are chopping silage. In late August and early September livestock farmers chop the green field corn plant for animal feed.

A chopper machine is used to chop the entire plant (stalk and ear) when the corn is dented and at the ideal stage for feeding to beef cattle and dairy cows. The corn is considered “high moisture,” about 65% plant moisture.

The chopped up corn plants are stored in bunker silos (on the ground) or in upright silos. Bunker silos are usually covered with plastic to maintain the quality of the silage.

The chopped plants ferment, or break down, and develop a strong, sweet smell. This forage is high in energy and digestibility. Cows love silage!

Silage Steps:

1.) The chopper machine chops up the entire corn plant and blows it into a truck.
2.) The truck then hauls the silage to the farm to unload into a bunker silo.
3.) Corn silage can be stored in a bunker silo like this or in upright silos. The tractor moves the silage around, compacting it for storage.
4.) The chopped up green corn plant is a sweet treat fed to beef and dairy cattle.


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