As corn begins to mature and the kernels begin to dent, harvest season is approaching fast! Along with grain harvest comes silage harvest. Our team has been preparing for silage harvest and checking fields to determine the right time to collect silage samples. If the silage is too wet, the sample may ferment poorly. If you wait too long, the kernels will get harder and more difficult for the animals to digest.
Determining Moisture in Corn
Determining moisture can be done several different ways. The kernel milk-line is a helpful deciding factor to determine whether it is time to harvest. You can find the milk-line by breaking an ear in half and looking at the top half of the ear. The top half of the ear would show the starch side of the kernel which is the side where the milk-line would be present with hard starch and soft starch. If you would look at the butt end of the ear, you would see the germ side of the kernel.
The kernel milk-line should be at 50% (or halfway.) The milk-line starts on the outside of the kernels and moves in towards the cob.This is a convenient way to help determine the moisture of the ear in the field and also will be the deciding factor in whether or not it is time to chop silage.
The best way to determine the entire moisture of a plant is to use a moisture tester like a 'Koster tester' (see figure 2) or even a microwave. The Koster tester can be used by testing a 100-gram silage sample and starting for 25-30 minutes until the weight does not decrease anymore. Remove the sample and weigh, then place the sample back in the drying unit. Run the sample in 5 minute increments until the weight does not decrease anymore.
If the sample weight does not decrease anymore, then the dry matter content has been found.
To determine the moisture percentage, take 100 grams minus the weight of the dried material, the difference will give you the moisture percentage.
So, if the sample weighed 45 grams after cooking for 30 minutes and did not decrease after cooking for an additional time then the moisture percentage would be 55%
(100 – 45 = 55). You can also use a microwave if you do not have a Koster tester. The sample would need to be cooked for 3 minutes with a ¾ filled glass of water to make sure the sample will not set on fire and using 30 second intervals of drying until the sample does not change in weight. Using the microwave is an easier way as most people have microwaves compared to purchasing a Koster tester.
Make sure to walk out in your fields and check your moisture if you will be harvesting silage!
LEGEND ELITE ADVANCEMENT PROJECTLegend Elite Advancement Project (L.E.A.P.) is our proprietary, in-house research program. It validates data on hybrid genetic performance over time and agronomic placement. Our L.E.A.P. plots are used for product evaluation, selection, and positioning on the right soil type and in the right geography to consistently deliver high value products to growers. Since 2014, we've conducted 85,890 replicated corn trials across 68 locations. As a result of our rigorous testing, we advance only the elite hybrids into our line-up, averaging 19 new products per year out of the thousands we tested.