Scout to protect silage yield, quality
When scouting cornfields this summer, don’t forget your silage fields.
“It’s important to preserve the quality of the entire plant, including leaves, stalks and ears. That’s why scouting silage cornfields is just as important, if not more so, than scouting grain corn and soybean fields,” says Jon Erickson, customer agronomist at Mycogen Seeds.
Start by evaluating weed pressure. Weeds can rob yield and forage quality, especially in developing corn. Early weed control with a residual herbicide helps give silage corn a strong start and helps protect the yield potential.
• Scout silage corn closely this season to maximize your yields.
• Weeds pressure can reduce silage quality and yield.
• Insects and diseases will also reduce silage quality.
In addition, look for signs of insect and disease problems, which also can impact yield potential. Corn leaves that are in good condition deliver greater tonnage at harvest and are more easily digested. Early scouting can help catch insect and disease damage before it is too severe to treat.
Erickson recommends scouting for diseases approximately 10 days before tasseling begins.
Diseases that cause the most economic damage to silage include gray leaf spot, northern and southern corn leaf blight, eye spot and corn leaf rust.
Erickson says if a problem is spotted, it is important to take immediate action. Two classes of fungicides used to treat the most common diseases in corn are triazoles and strobilurins. If a fungicide treatment becomes necessary, keep in mind that micronutrients and/or insect control products can be added to those applications for additional benefits if needed.
“Scouting fields planted for corn silage is time well spent and can have a significant impact on yield and quality,” says Erickson.
This article published in the July, 2010 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.