Harvest drymatter Guide
The table below uses basic field observations to make a more accurate prediction of maize silage drymatter percentage. This table should be used as a guide as to when to harvest your crop only.
NOTE: This table is a GUIDE ONLY and is NOT FOR TRADE USE. This table should not be used for frosted, nutrient or drought stressed crops.
Precision chopping is necessary to achieve top-quality maize silage. The ideal chop length is 10-15 mm. This is a theoretical chop length and you will find some particles that are shorter or longer in your silage. Some longer particles are beneficial as they stimulate the rumen of the animal that is being fed. If your silage is very dry (greater than 38% drymatter), decrease the chop length to 5-9 mm. In the case of very wet crops (less than 30% drymatter) chop length may be increased up to 20 mm.
A good method of testing whether the chop length that you are using is correct for the moisture level is to take a handful of the harvested maize and squeeze it. The palm of your hand should feel moist. If you can wring water out of the material, you are almost certain to have run-off from your silage stack. Either increase the chop length or delay the harvest. On the other hand, if the maize silage does not stay compressed after squeezing, the maize is too dry. Chop length should be shortened.