As always this crop season has brought unique opportunities and challenges for corn silage. PRO-DAIRY’s Joe Lawrence compares and contrasts 2018 with the last two years to look at the potential timing of this year’s harvest in his article Corn Silage Harvest Quickly Approaching.
“This season brought excessively dry and drought conditions for much of the state. However, relief from the drought came three to four weeks earlier than it did in 2016, aiding in pollination and more normal late season development of the crop. Therefore, we should not expect the extended dry down period that was observed in many areas in 2016.
In terms of GDD accumulation, 2018 was above average in May, below average in June and above average in July and August (to date). While the slight deficit in June may have led to a slower start for corn planted in late May, that deficit was erased by the end of July as we continue to accumulate above average heat units.
GDD accumulation for corn planted in early May is even further above average and current forecasts suggest that most areas of the state will end August with GDD accumulation (since May 1) between 125 and 150 GDD’s above average. To translate that into calendar days, based on average GDD accumulation in late August and early September, this puts use seven to 10 calendars ahead of average since May 1.
Past research by Bill Cox at the Cornell Aurora Research Farm provides approximate GDD accumulation needed from silking to the crop reaching 32 percent dry matter (DM) for 96 to 115 day relative maturity (RM) corn. Based on this we would expect that corn below 96 day RM will take 750 GDD or slightly less.”