The relationship of corn silage harvest moisture and maturity to its quality and performance is often underestimated. If the kernels don't reach the top of the ear, but all signs point to it being ripe and ready to eat, go ahead and harvest it anyway and cut off the top before serving. Try to harvest fields with marginal plant health, such as drought-stricken or questionable stalk quality, or refuge acres (non-Bt hybrids) with considerable insect infestation promptly to minimize losses.
Farmers plant broomcorn sometime between the middle of May and the middle of June. If a sweet, milky juice is released (milk stage) the corn is ready for harvest. Ideally the field to be harvested is uniform in development, but the reality is that uniformity is rarely achieved.
Earlage is growing in popularity in this region of the country because it allows the production of a relatively high-energy feed product, which can be harvested, stored and fed much like corn silage, using the same types of equipment that are used to produce corn silage.
Silage harvest usually begins around 50% kernel milk which is 42 to 47 days after silking, so silking must occur by August 15-20 in order to mature before typical killing frost dates; but remember that the timing of silage harvest is dependent upon achieving the proper moisture for the storage structure (Table 1). Noting the order that fields silk will help plan the harvest queue of your fields and scheduling of custom choppers.
Check ornamental corn for moisture by gently pressing on a few of the kernels with your fingernail. Corn that is too young will ooze a watery material, while ears that are too old will have a tough, doughy kernel. Corn plants are picky about their soil. The corn plant will approach silage harvest maturity at about 35 to 45 days, or 900 growing degree units (GDUs) after silking.
You should closely check for loss while the combine is harvesting and make adjustments accordingly. This document addresses some questions regarding the harvesting and storage of corn stover for the purpose of delivery to a proposed corn-based pulp mill in northwest Indiana.
When the corn continues to dry and die in the field there is increased butt shelling at the stripper plates and ear loss at the header during corn harvest. Bits of leaves and stalks along with the corn husks and cobs exit the rear of the combine. Corn grain quality is determined by hybrid, growing conditions, harvest practices and drying operations.
If it shatters, the kernels are dry enough to put away as seed. Wait until the soil is warm to sow sweet corn. The grain makes up approximately 46 percent of the weight of the plant (depends on yield), while the cob and husk make up 8.2 and 7 percent, respectively.
The energy content of earlage varies How Farms Work with harvest method and the amount of roughage ensiled with the grain (Table 1). Harvest methods that collect a larger proportion of stalk (for example, all-crop headers) will produce a lower-energy earlage product than harvest methods that only ensile grain and a portion of the cob.
When extended dry weather results in abnormal corn plant development, percent moisture estimates based on the kernel milk-line are quite variable and not very accurate. Sweet corn is mechanically harvested by self propelled or tractor pulled harvesters. Differences in grain moisture were evident among hybrids on the first harvest date in early-mid Oct.