On-Farm Indicators of Silage Processing Quality


On-Farm Tests

Are you getting the most out of your corn silage? If your chopper’s knife and roller settings are not set correctly, you may be missing out.

A lab analysis can determine how well your corn silage is processed. While this test can provide a thorough analysis of your corn silage sample in the form of Kernel Processing Scores (KPS), the process is lengthy and results are often not delivered until harvest is complete.

Fortunately, a few on-farm tests can offer immediate feedback for farmers and custom harvesters:

Kernel Count
Collect a 32-ounce sample of processed corn silage, spreading it out in a clean area. Visually inspect the sample, counting the number of kernels that are larger than half a kernel. Two half (or larger) kernels is considered ideal; four or more indicates that the chopper should be recalibrated prior to processing more corn silage.

Float Test
Add air-dried corn silage samples to a pan or pail of water. Agitate the sample slightly, allowing kernels to sink. Skim off the floating stover, pour out the remaining water, and visually inspect the remaining kernels. Again, corn silage that has been processed correctly will have very few half or whole kernels.

Shaker Box
Evaluate kernels in the pan after conducting a Penn State Shaker Box test. Samples containing more than a couple whole kernels indicate processing issues.

These tests, while not as thorough as a laboratory analysis, can provide valuable insight into the quality of your processed corn silage.





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