Making the Most of your Silage Crop

Sep 01, 2022

Chopping Corn

Prepping for silage success.

Corn silage season is knocking at the door and it’s time to start preparing to put up the best possible silage you can for the upcoming year. Between get the chopper set, processor in, opening fields and getting the silage in at the correct moisture, there is a lot that can go wrong. That’s why it’s in you best interest to equip yourself with the best tools, people, and information needed before heading to the field. 

When going though the chopper you will want to determine the proper length of cut. If the chopper has a processor, you will likely want a 3/4” to 7/8” Theoretical Length of Cut. Once going you will want to do a Kernel Processing Score to make sure all kernels are getting processed. If they are not, it is an indicator to tighten the rolls to improve kernel processing. If this does not help or the rolls are as tight as they go, it might be time to replace the rolls. If the chopper doesn’t have a processor, likely a 3/8” Theoretical Length of Cut and taking the silage as immature as the silo will take it will help get the processing needed to break the kernels up. Kernel processing is essential for capitalizing on the grain coming from the silage. 

Moisture is the next critical step in putting up good silage for the year. Moisture level can determine how well the silage can be packed, if heating will occur, and overall digestibility of the silage. The ideal time to start taking silage is when overall plant moisture is around 70% and finishing before it gets down to 63%. Once the silage gets under 63% moisture, starch digestibility and NDFd digestibility starts to go down. It also doesn’t pack as well and can cause heating. If heating occurs, it can lead to the loss of nutrients in the silage and may need to be made up with other on farm or most likely purchased feedstuffs. If the corn plant is drier than 63% moisture, shorten the length of cut or increase the degree of processing to prevent sorting of stalks. 

Lastly, applying a research proven inoculant that allows quick fermentation and feed stability at feed out. When choosing an inoculant, make sure to choose one with a Buchneri. An inoculant containing Buchneri starts producing acetic acid earlier in ensiling to help with aerobic stability. This allows for less dry matter loss during fermentation, better feed at feedout, and less heating at the silo face and in the bunk. Keeping feed from heating preserves the loss of nutrients and can help keep intakes up even in the heat of the summer. 

When it comes to your silage this year, make sure to take the proper steps in putting up the best possible silage you can for the upcoming year. This can be done by adjusting your Theoretical Length of Cut, adjusting the feed rolls on the processor, picking the optimal time to start harvesting the silage for the best possible moisture and applying a research proven inoculant. These few steps can play a major role in the profitability of your operation over the next year. Taking the time to implement these steps will help ensure a successful upcoming silage season. Reach out to your local Premier nutritionist for any assistance this silage season. 

Craig Wagner

Livestock Nutritionist


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Mar 03,2023
With spring just around the corner, your cooperative is gearing up for another one of our seasonal rushes…spring planting season. Not only will we see our total employee count peak for the year, but nearly every asset in the company will be in use. While many businesses have equipment and buildings that are in use all year long, our grain and agronomy divisions have millions of dollars invested in some assets that only get used for a few months out of the year. It is critical that these assets are fully operational and ready to go when the season starts. Our agronomy operations team has spent the winter months going through all the equipment to make sure it's in good working order, unwrapping and greasing up the new sprayers, trucks and other equipment we’ve purchased this year, updating technology and precision tools on existing equipment, and conducting hours of training on its use and safety. 

In addition, the crop advisors and admin staff have been putting the finishing touches on crop plans and seed orders, wrapping up input financing and nutrient management plans, hiring and training new staff including college interns to help scout fields, and maybe taking a little time away to get rested for what is sure to be long days and short nights ahead. If you’re still looking to finalize plans for this planting season, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our highly trained crop advisors.

Gearing up for spring is not only about the equipment, but also the additional staff needed to provide the products and services our members rely on to help feed the world. Each year we try to fill about 100 full and part time positions at our eleven agronomy locations. These positions can last from six weeks up to eight months. Most seasonal positions involve delivering product to our members or directly to fields to keep our custom application machines running smoothly. If you or someone you know is interested in seasonal or year-round employment, please contact Shayla at our Mt Horeb office or stop by one of the agronomy locations. The hours can be flexible and available up to seven days a week. If agronomy work isn’t for you, ask about openings at any of our other locations including retail associates, plant operations, truck drivers, administrative professionals and more. Premier is always looking to add quality people to our team.

Thank you for your continued support of Premier Cooperative and its staff. Have a great month and stay safe!
Mar 03,2023
Cattle nutrient requirements can vary by season and stage of production. Now is a great time to evaluate your cattle mineral programs and map out a plan to maximize impact.

While minerals are a relatively small portion of the diet, they control many vital functions in cattle and impact everything from cattle reproduction to feed efficiency and overall herd health. That's why it’s so important to make sure the mineral needs of your cattle are being met year-round.
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I know many of you have plans in place for a spring burndown herbicide application. If not, here are a few reasons for you to get in contact with your Premier agronomist to do so. Spring burndown applications typically target winter annuals and perennial grasses that overwinter and resume growing as soon as temperatures warm in the spring.  As they get going in the field they immediately begin stealing water and nutrients from the soil, and can create planting challenges. With the onset of resistant weeds like waterhemp, and standby challenges like giant ragweed, it is a best practice recommendation to add a strong residual herbicide to your preplant spring burndown application.  Doing so helps keep populations down and gets ahead of your first early post application. Here are some tips for establishing clean fields that give your crop a strong start.


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