Back Preparing for maize silage harvest

Date: 15 December 2014

Making high quality maize silage requires careful planning and attention to detail. There are a number of steps to consider to ensure a successful maize harvest.

Choose and book a reliable silage harvesting contractor with well-maintained equipment. Ensure they can apply Pioneer® brand inoculant to your crop as it is harvested.

Prior to harvest it is important to ensure you have enough storage space for your crop. Discuss with your contractor who will do the stack work, make sure there is good access for large harvesting machinery and ensure all silage-making supplies are on hand.

Bunkers and stacks

The approximate amount of storage area for different amounts of maize silage is shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Maize silage storage space requirements

If you are building a new bunker or stack make sure that the face matches the rate of maize silage feed-out. For more information see our Pioneer Technical Insight.

If you are using an existing bunker or stack, carry out any maintenance (e.g. drainage, straightening dirt walls) and clean out the residue of last year's silage well ahead of harvest.

Vehicle access

Discuss with your contractor vehicle access requirements from the paddock to the crop, and from the crop to the silage stack or bunker. Ensure the access is wide enough for the harvesting and silage carting equipment and that there is adequate overhead clearance.

Silage making supplies

Harvesting equipment often runs around-the-clock at maize silage harvest time so it is important that everything is on-hand prior to the start of harvest. Make sure you have:
• Pioneer® brand silage inoculant.
• High quality silage cover.
• Silage tape to secure joins and/or patch holes.
• Tyres or sand bags to weigh down the cover.
• Sand or limestone to seal the edges of the bunker or stack.


Once maize cob-fill has commenced, your Pioneer Representative, merchant or contractor can help you determine approximate maize silage harvest date.