Tips for Maximizing Corn Silage ROI with Combine Harvester

Originally Posted on October 10, 2018 by Everglades Equipment Group

We’re in the harvest season, and many farmers are busy preparing for or otherwise getting started with pulling in this year’s crop. There’s little more that can be done to maximize yields at this point other than having the right equipment and knowhow to bring it all in. It can be especially tricky for producers of corn and soybean silage, who can experience sudden swings in their rate of return on silage crops.

At Everglades Equipment Group, we understand that there are a lot of factors that go into predicting and reaching adequate yields when it comes to silage. That’s why we’ve put together this short guide with some basics to help you adjust your process and equipment to get a better ROI.

Seed Selection

While we’re long past planting, finding the right hybrid for your silage crop is an extremely important aspect of hitting a good ROI. This starts with considering soil type in your field. Don’t just go with a hybrid that’s selected for strong agronomics, as they might not be a the best choice for sillage specifically. You want the right seed in the right place! Look for seed that produces soft starch, usually silage-specific, or a dual-purpose hybrid if you’re after good dairy corn silage.

Another factor to consider is fiber digestibility, which can drastically affect dairy output. Be on the lookout for a balance in agronomics, yield, and forage quality. Soil health and nutrition are also important drivers in forage yield and quality. Just remember that seed selection matters and matching the unique characteristics of a hybrid to your soil can make a huge difference in harvest yields.

Kernel Processing & Chop Length

Favorable aspects of silage can be impacted by how the crop is processed and can determine the size of your yield. Chop length impacts particle length needed for rumination. There are few ways to control and ensure quality processing, starting with the right equipment and specific settings.

Chopper and Roller

The chopper knives and shear bars need to be in good condition. Replace those that aren’t, as they’ll prevent even chop lengths. The entire roller mill should be examined for worn-down teeth. Uneven wear might prevent it from performing effectively. Rollers have a hard time with corn in general, so be sure to inspect yours after 400 operating hours. A gap setting of 1 to 2 mm between chopper head and roller mill will crack all the kernels. You’ll also want to set the theoretical length of cut (TLC) to 3/4 inch, longer than typical settings for non-processed corn silage.

Potential Issues

There are a few specific scenarios that could gum up your operation if you run into trouble adjusting your harvester to the right parameters. The grain-to-stover ratio impacts how much grain goes through the roller mill. A higher grain content ratio means you’ll want a more aggressive processing procedure, which could be as easy as shortening the TLC.

Moisture can also cause a lot of problems, with low levels leading to a starchier harvest. Lowering TLC settings can lower effective fiber in dryer corn harvests, but this leads to better silo packing. If your roller adjustments don’t produce the expected results for kernel processing, take a look at the differential speed of the roller mill. The upper roller should be running faster than the lower roller, with a difference of 10-15%. Higher or lower ratios should be adjusted accordingly.

A combine kept in good condition is a great place to start, and your silage returns will only benefit from thoughtful and thorough seed selection. Pay attention to how your seed selection goes with your soil conditions, and don’t continue to use any settings or parameters for your harvester that aren’t returning the yields you’re after. For more combine and harvesting tips, head into Everglades Equipment Group. We have locations throughout Central and Southern Florida. Stop in today and let our experts answer all your questions and help you find what you need.

Belle Glade

2017 NW 16th St
Belle Glade, FL 33430
561-996-6531

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Boynton Beach, FL 33426
561-732-8905

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Brooksville

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Brooksville, FL 34601
352-573-2720

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5090 Ulmerton Rd
Clearwater, FL 33760
727-828-8200

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9501 FL-82
Fort Myers, FL 33905
239-332-5045

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6150 Orange Ave
Fort Pierce, FL 34947
772-461-5568

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Immokalee

775 E Main St
Immokalee, FL 34142
239-657-4413

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Leesburg

1800 US-441
Leesburg, FL 34748
352-315-1016

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Loxahatchee

13295 Southern Blvd
Loxahatchee, FL 33470
561-784-4000

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Naples

1945 Pine Ridge Rd
Naples, FL 34109
239-260-8800

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Odessa

2240 Success Dr
Odessa, FL 33556
727-842-8618

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Okeechobee, FL 34972
863-763-1921

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Orlando, FL 32837
407-240-1023

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Palmetto, FL 34221
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Plant City, FL 33567
813-737-1660

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Sarasota, FL 34238
941-924-9709

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117 13th St
St Cloud, FL 34769
321-209-4888

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