Harvest wind-damaged corn for silage

Northern New York producers with corn crops damaged by recent high winds face big harvest challenges, said Mike Hunter, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Jefferson County. Producers reported corn knocked over and flattened by high winds, and some don’t think their equipment can harvest it.
    Hunter estimated about 8,000 acres of corn in Jefferson County were damaged to some degree.
    Rotary corn heads haven’t done a good job of handling lodged corn, especially that which is really flat, Hunter said. Some producers who have installed kits that attach to the head and make harvesting lodged corn easier are pleased with the results. “It has reduced harvest losses and made harvest much easier,” Hunter said.
     Growers should harvest for silage the most damaged corn fields, those with corn stalks broken near the base of the plant, Hunter said. Corn lying close to the ground is in an ideal environment for diseases, especially corn ear molds. The grain would also likely have low test weight if harvested as grain later in the season. 
    Fields with plants leaning or broken off above the ear will still be candidates for grain harvest and can also be harvested for silage.  Monitor these fields closely for dry down and harvest when they reach proper moisture levels.
     The dry-down rate of whole corn plant will be faster than normal, according to Greg Roth, Penn State Extension grain crops specialist. If harvesting corn that is wetter than normal,  store silage in a bunker or plastic silo bag since it may be too wet to store in an upright silo.
      For more information about dealing with wind-damaged corn contact Hunter at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County at 315-788-8450.