Corn Silage

Corn silage is an important source of forage in the United States. It makes up over 40% of the value of the forage fed to dairy cows in the United States and is also a important feed in the beef finishing industry.

Several characteristics of corn silage make it attractive to many livestock producers. It is a palatable forage with relatively consistent quality and higher yields and energy content than most other forages. Corn silage production requires significantly less labor and machinery time than other forages because it requires only a single harvest activity. Hay and haycrop silage, on the other hand, often require multiple harvests. The cost per ton of dry matter also tends to be much lower for corn silage than for other harvested forage crops.

Offsetting these benefits of corn silage are some disadvantages relative to other forages. There are few established markets for silage sales in the Midwest and Northeast, and transportation costs are high so the crop must often be fed on or near the farm where it is produced. Storage facilities for corn silage also tend to be more expensive than those for dry hay. However, recently developed alternative storage systems for silage have reduced storage costs to reasonable competitive levels. In some situations, where corn is not well adapted, the cost of production may be too high to warrant corn silage production. Also, on erodible soils corn silage production may be limited because of soil conservation requirements.

The purpose of this website is to provide the most recent information on cost  effective, safe, and environmentally sound ways to produce and use high quality corn silage. It is largely extracted from the publications below.

Key Resources

  1. Allen, M., S. Ford, J. Harrison, C. Hunt, J. Lauer, R. Muck, S. Soderlund. 1995. Corn silage production, management, and feeding. (eds. G. Roth and D. Undersander). American Society of Agronomy, NCR574, 42 pp.
  2. University of Wisconsin Corn Hybrid Trials
  3. The Relationship between Corn Grain Yield and Forage Yield: Effect of Moisture, Hybrid and Environment
  4. Sampling corn silage fields to accurately determine moisture
  5. Kernel Milkline: How should we use it for harvesting silage?
  6. Corn silage pricing decision aid
  7. Refereed published articles

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