General information

How and when to harvest corn for grain and silage?


Of the feed crops, corn is especially valued, the green mass of which goes to highly nourishing silage. It is characterized by a high content of proteins, proteins, fiber, and vitamins, with excellent digestibility. Cultivation of the plant is not particularly difficult. The main emphasis in the cultivation of fodder varieties of corn is on the composition of the soil, its processing, the introduction of dressings during planting care.

The processes of cultivation of corn, or maize, vary depending on the purpose of the plant. If the crop is grown for silage, then special attention should be paid to tillage before sowing, caring for seedlings, and harvesting. The timing of these processes, their sequence depends on the climatic conditions of culture growth.

The best precursors for silage corn

The heat-loving corn plant is not afraid of drought, and some of its varieties are also frost resistant. For a plant, the composition of the soil is important, therefore, cereal, leguminous plants are suitable for its predecessors. It grows well after potatoes, buckwheat. But sugar beet will not leave corn in the soil reserves of zinc, spending them completely. The lack of an element will be reflected in the growth and formation of cobs.

Not suitable for the role of the precursor of maize and sunflower, millet.

But after the crops of corn, other cultures will grow beautifully. Therefore, it can be cultivated in one place for up to eight years in a row. But with a shortage of organic fertilizers in the cultivated land, in three or four years, alfalfa is sown on corn fields, alternating it with maize in a year.

To get more green mass for silage, soy is grown next to the fodder maize. The harvest will immediately increase much. The selection of a site for sowing a crop is important and will affect its yield.

Soil preparation, planting dates

For sowing maize, loamy, light and medium soils, as well as sandy, are considered suitable. They must retain water well, contain organic matter, be light. It is impossible to sow corn in those areas where groundwater is close to the surface, and the acidity of the earth is increased. Best for planting plants to choose the southern slopes, which are closed by trees or hills from the north and north-east wind.

To cultivate the land in the selected area begins in the fall, plowing it and applying organic and mineral fertilizers.

Before sowing in the period of early spring, the application of nitrogenous fertilizers is applied, duplicating them three to four weeks after planting the corn. To improve the composition of the soil, it is necessary to feed the site with potassium and phosphorus. The form of fertilizer can be liquid or granulated. If the soil for corn plantings is acidic, then it is lime. In order to preserve moisture, the areas under maize are harrowed with subsequent cultivation. Uniform planting of seeds of a plant will be provided by a soil packing.

Two weeks before sowing, corn seeds are treated with herbicides such as Vitavax, Gaucho. After the seed has been in solution for an hour, it is thoroughly dried. Begin to sow corn for silage when the earth warms up to 10-12 degrees Celsius, which happens in the second half of May. Sowing earlier is done only with the use of seed varieties that are resistant to cold, sealing them to a shallower depth. Properly prepared soil, pre-treatment of seeds allows to achieve high yields of forage crops.

Basic rules for planting maize for silage

It is necessary to plant corn seeds according to certain rules:

  1. When square-breeding method of sowing several pieces of grains placed at the corners of the square. This method of planting allows the plants to receive sufficient nutrition and light.
  2. On fields with a small number of weeds, corn is planted in strips with a distance of twenty-five centimeters from each other.
  3. Plant density should be between fifty and one hundred kilograms of grains per hectare of field. The thickening of seedlings will allow to retain moisture in the soil and will not allow weeds to grow.
  4. The width of the rows between corn plantations should be no more than sixty centimeters. During the rainy summer, the distance is reduced.
  5. After sowing the field is rolled by a special technique, then the shoots will appear quickly and together.
  6. The depth of seeding of the grains depends on the composition of the soil. On the lungs, it is four centimeters, on heavy - two. In the early stages close up two to three centimeters deep, and in hot arid areas - five or six centimeters.

Planting of corn grain for silage is carried out mechanically in accordance with climatic and soil conditions.

Fodder Care Tips

It is easy to care for corn crops. The most common procedure is to loosen the soil with a harrow. First harrowed until germination, then - after the formation of two or three leaves on sprouts. Processing is carried out in the morning when the shoots are not so fragile.

When the appearance of five to six leaves loosen the aisles, making fertilizer to a depth of ten centimeters. After two weeks, the procedure is repeated with a depth of embedding the dressing of seven centimeters.

Mass planting care is simple and aimed at combating weeds and forage crop pests.

Constant weeding between rows of planting allows plants to grow quickly. The treatment must be combined with the feeding of plants with nitrogenous fertilizers. When the plants reach a height of thirty centimeters, then they spud. Less often they loosen the soil in corn fields, if the summer is dry and there are few weeds growing on them.

Fight against plant diseases and pests

The fungus diseases of corn include bubbly smut, loose smut, and gelmintosporioz. They develop as a result of planting diseased plant seeds, and wet weather only increases the symptoms of the disease:

  • The hallmark of blistering smut is the defeat of all parts of the plant, which appear swelling, growths.
  • When a loose smut infects during the formation of inflorescences, the fungus forms spores of yellow-brown color, which cover both panicles and young ears of the plant.
  • When gelmintosporioze on the leaves are visible sharply defined spots of gray or ginger tone. The leaves begin to wither and dry. The formation of bacterial rot, which affects the stem, causes it to heap, and sometimes the entire plant dies.

Sowing seeds before sowing can save corn from diseases, timely weed control. It will also help reduce the percentage of contamination of plantings by spraying them with Bordeaux mixture. The standard of its use is four liters per hundred square meters.

The vectors of dangerous diseases are often insects:

  1. A stalk moth lays eggs on the underside of leaves before the maize throws out the panicles. After the appearance of caterpillars, damage is clearly visible on the fibrous bundles of the plant.
  2. The Swedish fly, its larvae damage the growth points of the corn, preventing it from developing. Often the attack of the parasite leads to the death of seedlings.
  3. The grain moth lays eggs on the cob of a plant, and then the caterpillars that emerge from them destroy the corn grain, turning it into a gray mass.

It is possible to fight pests by pre-treatment of seeds before planting, by timely harrowing, by rolling the plot before and after planting the corn, by deeply plowing it. The introduction of zinc sulphate into the soil will reduce the damage to the seedlings by the larvae of the Swedish fly. To combat all pests of the culture, spraying with Karate-type preparations is effective. If the agrotechnology of growing corn is observed, then neither disease nor pests are terrible for crops.

How to store crops?

Harvested must be stored in order to prevent damage to it and the loss of nutrients. Here are the most popular ways to store grains according to destination:

  • Technical or feed grain of corn should be kept loose in warehouses, bunker storages or silo silos. The height of the embankment can be determined by the possibilities of the storage room. It should be comfortable for the normal maintenance of raw materials and quality control.
  • Feed raw materials can also be stored in metal silos towers. In this case, you will need to constantly monitor the temperature of the raw materials. Special attention will have to be paid to the upper and lower layers of the embankment to prevent the appearance of condensate in them. Often this happens when temperature changes in the towers.
  • Corn on the cob should be kept in a dry and well-ventilated area, the humidity in which is very low and does not exceed 15%. The optimal height of the mound of cobs is up to 1.5 m. Before storing them for storage, they should be carefully picked, all leaves should be removed and dried to a moisture content of 13-14%.
  • Keep grains in plastic containers, cardboard boxes or fabric bags. In the latter case, you need to ensure that the fabric is not saturated with moisture, otherwise the seeds will lose the ability to germinate. Grain in this form can be kept in an unheated room for up to 24 months. Its humidity should not exceed 13%.
  • At home, corn can be stored in the refrigerator. Beforehand, it needs to be well cleaned, soaked in water, salted and acidified with lemon juice, and then put into bags and thrown into the refrigerator, but will need to be consumed within 10 days.
  • To keep the cobs all winter in the freezer, they should be alternately dipped for 2-3 minutes in ice and hot boiled water, and then dried and wrapped with cling film.

Corn harvesting involves a number of rules and features depending on whether it is harvested for silage or for grain. The difference lies not only in the harvesting process, but also in the principles for determining the optimal timing of work and the units used.

Corn for silage cultivation features

To obtain the most productive mass, corn silage is made following some technological methods. But before you start making it, you need to get acquainted with the rules of cultivation.

The cultivation of corn silage is different from the grain technology. The similarity is that the same grain varieties of corn are selected for silage and they observe the same sowing time.

Before you grow corn for silage, you need to know its biological features. Corn is an annual thermophilic cereal cultivated plant with a well-developed stem, leaves and roots. At first, the roots grow in the upper, heated layers of the soil, gradually going deeper by 1–2 meters.

The stem is 7 cm thick, there can be up to 25 leaves on one plant. The stem is divided into nodes, the number of which does not increase with the growth of the plant. In height can grow up to 5 meters due to the elongation of the space between the nodes. On the upper part is a male inflorescence - a panicle. At the lower nodes are formed stepchildren. If corn is grown for grain, they should be removed.

Corn seeds begin to germinate at a temperature of +10 degrees. The warmer it gets outside, the more actively the culture grows. At a temperature of +15 degrees the first shoots appear after 8 days. Culture can withstand frosts down to -3 degrees, lack of moisture and heat, but only during the period of germination. If such adverse factors appeared during flowering, the yield may be significantly reduced.

It is very important to determine the correct dates for the collection of corn silage, maintaining the ratio of the dry matter content and the maturation stage. The dry matter content is a reliable criterion for determining the quality of corn silage. Harvesting is best to start when the solids content is 28-30%.

Crop rotation

With good care, the yield of maize for silage per hectare can be 50-60 tons. If corn is grown for feed, then for the rapid development of green mass it is necessary to water the crop as often as possible. When using special irrigation systems, the yield can be increased up to 80–100 tons per 1 ha.

Silage corn is used as feed for cattle, rabbits, birds because of its high feeding value. Useful properties of the product include:

  • work of the digestive organs in animals is normalized,
  • Increases lean body mass
  • improved blood counts of animals
  • the number of milk yields from cows increases
  • contains many vitamins, amino acids, organic fats.

For high-quality and rich harvest, you also need to observe crop rotation. It is advisable to plant after cereal or legumes, perennial grasses. The best predecessors are vegetables such as potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans. Every 3-4 years it is recommended to change the place of planting culture.

For sowing maize for silage, black earth, loamy, sandy and sandy soils with normal acidity are best suited. For the cultivation of corn need to carefully prepare the soil.

If the soil is prone to waterlogging and acidity, then cultivate the crop will not work. Acidic soils recommended to lime for 1–2 years before sowing.

Corn needs good aeration, especially at the germination stage. The embryos consume a lot of oxygen, and a good harvest will be only when there is about 20% oxygen in the soil air.

From autumn, the site is dug up to a depth of 25–30 cm. When weeds appear or after rains, harrowing is carried out. At the same time, organic fertilizers can be applied, for example, manure. In the spring, they are harrowing to a depth of 5 cm, after which the soil is cultivated to a depth of 8 cm.

The best precursors for silage maize are winter and spring crops, buckwheat, potatoes, and legumes. It is not recommended to plant after beets, millet and sunflower, as these crops lead to a deficiency of trace elements in the soil and a lack of moisture.

Corn Varieties and Hybrids

For the cultivation of corn for silage is not required to wait for the full aging of the grain. Therefore, it is better to choose late-ripening varieties, in which, to achieve milky-wax ripeness, many nutrients accumulate. To increase the number of crops, it is possible to sow early and mid-season varieties together with late-ripening varieties.

The most popular varieties of corn grown for silage include: Sterling, Partizanka, Osetinskaya, Dnepropetrovsk, Adevey, Dubrava, Kalina. All of these varieties have increased digestibility of animals, develop rapidly and give a rich harvest.

In order for the seeds of the selected variety to grow well, and the plant has a good immunity, they must be disinfected. For this purpose, seed treatment is carried out with manganese.

Corn straw (stalks and leaves after removing the cobs) of any kind is best to ensilage at a humidity of about 45%. In this state, they soften, after which they are crushed into small pieces (1 cm). It is possible to dry the straw in special drying units or spread it out in a thin layer on flat ground. Use dry straw in the granulated or bricketed look.

Planting dates

The fields begin to be sown only after the soil warms up to +12 degrees to a depth of 8 cm. If the soil is heavy, clay, then the seeding depth should be about 4 cm. The dates fall around the beginning of May.

After sowing it is necessary to harrow. The second harrowing is carried out after 4–5 pairs of leaflets unfold on the plant. More information on the technology of cultivation of corn for silage can be found in the table.

Corn on a silo: features of cultivation

To obtain high-quality silage, you should study the biological characteristics of the corn:

  1. The plant loves heat: seeds germinate at temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius. Frosts below -3 degrees ruin the grass.
  2. Roots, leaves and stems are equally well developed. The root system is first formed in the upper layers of the soil, then plunges to a depth of 2-3 m.
  3. The stem extends to 5 m. The number of internodes with growth does not change.
  4. The thickness of the stem - up to 7 cm. The plant forms a large plant mass: it allows you to get high-quality silage from corn.
  5. Grain varieties are sensitive to the lack of moisture during flowering and the formation of cobs. Adverse weather conditions will lead to a loss of grain yield.
  6. To obtain high-quality silage should monitor the time of harvesting of cereal. It is time to clean the corn if the dry matter content is 28-30%. Corn harvested at other values ​​is not a good material for making silage.

Corn is a demanding plant. To obtain a good silage yield, it is recommended to study the soil characteristics, crop rotation and illumination of the growing area.

Silo Crop Density

Нормы высева кукурузы на силос определяются основными показателями:

  • спелостью зерна,
  • влажностью почвы,
  • сортовыми характеристиками.

При хорошем урожае средняя густота посадки в огороде составляет 6-8 растений на квадратный метр. При посеве кукурузы на силос важно получить требуемое количество качественной зеленой массы. В этом случае чем выше вытянется куст и наберет большую зеленую массу, тем лучше. В почве сохранится больше влаги. Stems and leaves quickly gain the right amount of nutrients.

To get high-quality green food, planting density is provided by sowing according to the scheme: 40 cm x 60 cm. It is permissible to place plantings in the garden in a square-nesting way: 40 cm x 40 cm.

Corn grown for animal feed during the growing season should have time to gain green mass. This can not be achieved without the introduction of mineral and organic fertilizers.

Plot for cultivation on silage begin to cook in the fall. Dig up the soil with the simultaneous introduction of potassium phosphate fertilizers. They can be bought separately, and you can purchase a package of autumn complex fertilizers. The application rate manufacturer indicates on the packaging.

In case of spring digging, it is recommended to lay the mineral complex again. To avoid an excess of minerals in the soil, you should strictly follow the manufacturer's instructions.

It is impossible to obtain a good silage crop without fertilizing the soil with nitrogen. The first time should be applied to rotted manure or a three-year compost before planting corn. It is laid when digging to the depth of a spade bayonet.

The second time planting fertilized with nitrogen shoots. Give foliar feeding from a diluted 1: 5 infusion of mullein or chicken manure (1: 8).

It is recommended to carefully monitor the condition of the plant. If the leaves are excessively green, the culture should be fed with phosphorus. Potassium deficiency is determined by the yellow drying leaves. With a small amount of nitrogen, the growth and development of the plant stops.

Cultivation of corn is not possible on clogged soils. The plant is easily inhibited by harmful plants. It does not receive enough light, moisture and nutrients. Culture will not give enough green mass.

It is not always possible to clean the soil with one weed. Gardeners have to resort to the help of the chemical industry. Manufacturers offer two types of herbicides:

  • for tillage-free processing,
  • for removal of weeds at the existing shoots.

The first type includes: "Aurorex", "Erodican", "Reglon". For these drugs, the consumption rate is 8-10 l / ha. More aggressive helpers in weed control: Harnes, Roundup. They are made at the rate of 3 l / ha.

On seedlings, corn for silage is treated with the following solutions: Ballerina, Milady, Adengo, Dialen, Turbin, Desormon, Luvaram. To prepare and apply the working solution should be strictly according to the manufacturer's instructions. The recommended consumption rate is 2 l / ha.

Proper use of herbicides allows you to get feed units per hectare 10-15% above the traditional amount.

Diseases and pests

In case of violation of the technology of cultivation of corn for silage, the plant is affected by pests and begins to hurt. The crop of green mass falls. The quality of harvested feed is reduced.

Planting corn silage actively attack:

  1. Oat swedish fly. The pest feeds on young shoots, destroys plantings at the stage of formation.
  2. The wireworm penetrates the stem through the roots and gnaws its central part. The leaves and immature cobs turn yellow and dry.
  3. Deciduous scoop eats all ground parts of the plant. She is especially attracted by immature cob grains.
  4. Meadow moth eats young leaves of corn.

To preserve the yield of silage corn, it is necessary to combat detected pests in a timely manner. Planting is recommended to inspect every 3-4 days. To destroy insects should spray plants with insecticide solutions.

Of the diseases for silage corn powdery mildew, smut, rust are dangerous. They are able to destroy the landing on the vine. Diseases are easier to prevent than to cure. For healthy plants, you should follow the rules of cultivation and adhere to the norms of turnover of grain crops.

Harvesting corn silage

Terms of silage harvesting is determined by the degree of maturity of the grain on the cob. Botanists delimit the types of ripeness into:

  • grain formation stage (2 weeks from the moment of fertilization),
  • milky ripeness (when pressed, the grain is easily crushed, and “milk” remains on the fingers),
  • milky-wax (the grain is not completely destroyed, there is a thick “milk” with “wax” on the fingers),
  • wax (white liquid ceases to stand out, the consistency of the grain is dense),
  • full (2 weeks after wax ripeness).

It is recommended to start harvesting maize for silage during the milky-wax stage of maturity. At this time, green mass contains the greatest amount of nutrients and vitamins. The stem contains up to 80% moisture, the leaves - 35. Grains have 35% moisture.

When harvesting, you first need to cut the cob, then - green mass. Stems mowed at a height of 15 cm from the soil surface. When harvesting large areas used combine. In small gardens, a sickle or a sharp knife is enough.

For silage harvesting choose dry sunny weather. Terms and rules of collection are required to comply with to obtain high-quality nutritious pet food.

What is corn silage

This is a crushed mass of the whole corn plant, compressed and packed in storage, covered with plastic film on top to preserve moisture from the inside and protect it from external conditions. Used for cattle feed and in milk production. Corn silage also has a beneficial effect on the composition of milk due to its beneficial elements found in corn.

Corn growing conditions

Corn is grown on well-loosened soil fertilized with minerals.

Soil is suitable for corn, where winter crops, potatoes, pumpkin, cereals and legumes were previously grown. After them, the soil does not remain dried and depleted. It contains many minerals that make up an important part of the diet of plants, for example, zinc and phosphorus.

Important! Such precursors, such as sugar beets or sunflowers, leave the soil dried, taking all the nutrients out of it. Therefore, it is very important to fertilize the soil before planting corn, as well as neutralize it from suspected future pests.

  • corn moth,
  • wireworms
  • swedish fly
  • winter scoop,
  • bread fleas,
  • aphid,
  • cicadas.

To ensure the safety of the plant in time, protective agents are used. Used in the form of solutions for spraying, drugs, put under the root, insecticides when laying the grain.

Fertilizers and top dressing before planting

For these purposes, you can take both organic fertilizer and inorganic.

Organic fertilizers include manure and compote. Manure is the main source of nitrogen for the soil. Nitrogen as a whole gives a qualitative and rich harvest. Trace elements in manure enrich the soil. It:

The rate of manure per 1 ha is approximately 250-300 kg.

Important! It is necessary to apply the already dormant and dried manure. Fresh will give strength to the leaves, not the cobs, in the end you get a fluffy plant with a minimum of fruit.

Compost fertilizer has no particular limitations.

Choice of silage corn

Silage corn is selected based on several indicators:

  • yield
  • the presence of pests by area (flies, beetles, aphids, locusts).
  • resistance to weather conditions of the area (corn loves heat and the best conditions for it are +20 +27 degrees).
  • the rate of ripening cobs (varies from 100 days to 180).

Choosing a variety of hybrid corn (for breeding) it is worth choosing those that are resistant to spring temperature drops. With the rest you can cope with the help of additional tools and forces.

Autumn preparation

Before each planting and after harvesting, the land is plowed and immediately fertilized. Make a lining manure or any other mineral fertilizer for the winter. During this time, the soil has time to absorb nutrients and enriched with minerals lost in the process of plant growth.

Plowing and fertilizing land for the winter

Spring Training

It is necessary to sow corn grain silage in heated soil, therefore, when the soil warms up to + 10 ° degrees, you can begin to cultivate it. The depth of the warm-up should not be less than 7 cm.

The land is also plowed and fertilized. Two weeks later, corn is sown with the help of special equipment and either manually.

Before each planting, insecticides are placed in the ground together with the grain to prevent the occurrence of pests, or they are sprayed with a slightly grown plant in the phase of 1-2 leaves. Sometimes it is enough just to handle the edges of the field to prevent pests on it.

Spraying corn against pests

Sowing of grains is made into furrows 5 cm deep, the distance between the furrows is 70 cm, and the distance between rows is 35 cm. Such a scheme is optimal both for the growth of culture, for its processing, and for harvesting.

Crop silage technology generally depends on the quality of the crop. And in order for the crop to ripen without obstacles from the side of weeds, you need to use chemical compounds that affect their growth. Herbicides have this property.

Herbicides are often used in farming and agriculture due to the large number of different types of weeds, and simply to save time and effort.

On a note! There is a large selection of herbicides, and each of the compositions is aimed at the destruction of certain types of weeds. Therefore, the choice of herbicide depends mainly on the type of weeds growing on the field.

As an example, you can cite Doublon Gold. It became popular in 2013, when with its help the farm increased its corn yield by 30% compared with the previous year.

Gold Dublon covers a wide range of weeds and provides a protective period for the growth and maturation of the plant. It destroys both annuals and some perennials.

Two potent and complementary components of this composition are quickly absorbed by leaves and weed roots, killing their enzyme system, and therefore the plant stops growing. And within a month dies.

Doubloon Gold copes with such annual cereals as:

  • Bristles
  • Common hedgehog (chicken millet).
  • Wild oats.
  • Types of demand.

From perennial Doublon Gold copes with such plants:

  • Cornflower blue.
  • Vika hairy, or peas.
  • Types of Highlander.
  • Field mustard.
  • Types of idler.
  • Yellowcone.
  • Common groundseller.
  • Hemp weed.
  • Types of mari.
  • Dandelion officinalis.
  • Ambrosia wormwood and others.

Herbicide is good to make in the growth phase of a plant of 2-6 leaves with a plant growth of 10-15 cm.

The technological process of the use of the herbicide Dublon on corn crops is different, depending on the composition. Every year it is modernized, so the rules for using this type of herbicide are always better read on the packaging.

What diseases does corn suffer?

If the corn seeds are improperly sown, the plants can hurt. This happens if you sow the grain in the cold ground. They can rot, mold and die. In an already grown-up state, plants and cobs are exposed to other diseases that dry up. They spread spores through 40-45 melons from the beginning of growth.

Also sometimes a pink wet patina appears. This happens if the seeds germinate under the condition of low temperature and high humidity.

Another problem is lodging disease.

Important! Not all corn diseases can be cured when they have already manifested themselves in all. It is better to follow all the precautions when landing.

Secrets of a good corn harvest

Corn yield depends entirely on compliance with all necessary stages of plant care. It must be timely sprayed from insects, from disturbing the growth of weeds, as well as to feed, if necessary. To ensure that the crop is harvested on time and the cobs are not over-dried, this will affect the quality of the silage and in the future the quality of the silage eating by animals.

Harvesting silage corn

When a wax layer appears on the corn kernels - it usually lasts 10-12 days - the corn must be removed. This phase got its name - wax, because of the luster on the grains during this period of ripening. The resulting crop is transported to the place of processing, where they will bookmark and press it.

Harvesting silage corn

The walls of the repository are stacked with film. The film should be dense, about 100 microns. Next, laid silage.

Silo quality check

When maize is finished, you can check its quality before placing it in storage.

Important! In the presence of a large number of large pieces, the quality of silage storage may suffer. And the cows he chewed badly.

To check it is necessary to take a 10l bucket and collect silage in it. Next, take the vibrating grate and pass the silo through it. Since the quality of storage of silage depends on the size of the pieces into which it is cut, you need to make sure that there are few large pieces in it. This is what the sieve is for.

Pass 10l of silage through the first grid, the remaining large pieces to collect in a glass. If there is one glass in 200 ml per 10 liters, then this is 1% of the total silage harvest. And this figure is the norm.

Next, skip the same 10 liters through the second grill. If you get 10 cups of 200 ml of the remaining pieces per bucket in 10 liters, which is 10% of the total harvest, then everything is done correctly. And that means the silage will be well kept, the cows will chew it easily.

Next, the silo is loaded into storage, pressed with heavy machinery, covered with two films. The first layer is a 40 micron film to avoid pockets with air. The second layer is a thicker film, 100 microns, to protect the storage from moisture, debris and animals.