Drought-Stressed Corn Concerns

Major areas in the Midwest are watching thousands of acres of corn experience severe drought stress. Livestock managers are planning strategies to implement if timely rain does not arrive soon, according to Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois professor emeritus of animal sciences.

“Corn plants are firing (drying) from the roots up the stalk of the corn plant,” Hutjens said. “Some corn has tasseled, which may not pollinate, resulting in barren corn stalks (no ears). Other cornfields are in various stage of grow from 3 to 6 feet in height.”

Hutjens said the following strategies can be considered:

  • If corn plants have green active tissue, the plant may recover and produce more plant dry matter or yield per acre if rain arrives. Do not harvest too early.

Immature, drought-stressed corn can appear dry and dead but may contain over 70% moisture in the stalk. For optimal fermentation, ensile when the dry matter in the chopped material ranges from 30 to 38 percent, depending on type of storage (in a bag, bunker, and piles it can be wetter, while upright storage must be drier).

  • If the corn plant has not pollinated, the quality of the corn silage will be reduced, but the plant may continue to store nutrients if green.

Drought-stressed corn can be high in nitrates. Commercial Illinois labs have measured field values as high as 17,000 ppm (1.7%). Levels over 4,400 ppm require feeding adjustments. Values over 17,600 ppm (in the total-ration dry matter) should not be fed to dairy cattle.

Fermenting corn as silage can reduce nitrate levels by 25 to 40%. Ensiling corn silage is a recommended practice, but green chopping or pasturing can be risky. Baling corn silage as hay or baleage is similar to grass hay quality when the plants are immature. No nitrate changes will occur when producing dry hay.

Adding a silage inoculant to improve fermentation is recommended as naturally occurring bacteria may be low. Do not add urea or limestone as it can slow down fermentation.

Drought- stress corn silage can contain 60 to 80% of corn silage nutrient value depending on the stage of maturity. Hutjens’ suggested guideline is that each foot of corn plant may yield one ton of dry matter (varies depending on stage of maturity). “Tests on the harvested drought-stressed corn silage after ensiling can measure nutrient content and nitrate levels,” he said.

“Livestock producers may be able to purchase drought-stress corn locally as it has little value for grain or hog producers,” Hutjens said. “Like livestock producers in the southwest areas of the United States last summer, dairy managers are asking what will be available and affordable for their dairy cattle this fall and winter? Drought-stress corn silage may be an alternative locally. Consumers will share in the cost of drought-stressed corn this summer as corn yields may be quite low, raising food prices and ethanol costs.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Drought-Stressed Corn Concerns

Management Stories
ManagementMACA 2014: The State Of The Agricultural Industry, And Then Some
October 9, 2014
The trade association’s annual gathering featured speakers from across agriculture and beyond. Read More
StewardshipA Multi-Layered Approach To Water Quality
October 6, 2014
Illinois event highlights research and technology designed to better monitor and improve water quality — and the benefits of cooperative, coordinated effort. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
ManagementRussia Bans U.S. And EU Ag Product Imports In Ukraine Sanctions Battle
August 7, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the import of agricultural goods from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Latest News
ManagementKey Takeaways From Commodity Classic Event
March 6, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj debrief on their experience at the 20th annual Commodity Classic conference and tradeshow last Read More
Training
SoftwareFulfilling A Training Need
March 6, 2015
Tri Ag and CSE Software hope to introduce a new hands-on simulator for custom applicator tudoring. Read More
RR2X soybeans surround untreated check (center)
Industry NewsArysta Hires New Midwest Territory Sales Manager
March 5, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently named Jonathan “Jon” Tone as the Territory Sales Manager in the Midwest sales region. Read More
Fertilizer360 Yield Center: Try These 5 Steps To Fine Tune Nitrog…
March 5, 2015
Yield Center 360 advises that an effective nitrogen management plan needs to focus on how much N a particular field and corn crop needs, as well as how to properly manage N throughout the growing season — with adjustments along the way. Read More
Precision AgFarmobile Coming Online In 2015
March 5, 2015
A new startup is looking to make collecting and selling ag data a more rewarding proposition for growers. Read More
Crop InputsCommodity Classic 2015 Sets Attendance High Mark
March 4, 2015
With nearly 8,000 total attendees, the 2015 Commodity Classic convention and trade show, which took place last week in Phoenix, AZ, shattered previous records for the landmark event, Read More
Young corn plants
FertilizerNew Nitrogen Stabilizer From Simplot Protects Fertilize…
March 4, 2015
By using OmniPierce Technology, Eclipse-N from Simplot Grower Solutions coats and protects more nitrogen, increasing nitrogen efficiency and decreasing loss due to volatilization. Read More
Industry NewsOhio Corn And Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean A…
March 4, 2015
The associations truly appreciate the comprehensive approach and diligent work that the Ohio House of Representatives has dedicated to addressing water quality and House Bill 61. Read More
Mahindra Implement
Industry NewsMahindra USA Aligns With Paladin Attachment For Impleme…
March 4, 2015
Mahindra USA will begin utilizing Paladin Attachments as its implement supplier in April 2015. Read More
Crop InputsValent BioSciences Acquires Mycorrhizal Applications
March 4, 2015
The acquisition adds another strategic platform to VBC’s rapidly expanding global biorational business, providing additional tools for the Biorational Window platform being developed with its parent, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation - Plant Nutrient on the Farm Station
Industry NewsNutrients For Life Foundation Launches New Station Prog…
March 4, 2015
This ready-to-implement station provides an interactive opportunity for farms to showcase crop nutrients’ important role in growing healthy crops. Read More
Adjuvants loading
AdjuvantsAdjuvants Continue Upward Trend
March 4, 2015
A dizzying array of developments in crop protection technologies promise to make specialty adjuvants a crucial piece of the puzzle going forward. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Me…
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
10 Tips for Spring Planter Preparation
Equipment10 Tips For Spring Planter Preparation
March 3, 2015
Kinze Manufacturing offers advice on how to ensure your planter is ready before you hit the field. Read More
Industry NewsOABA 2015 LAUNCH Program Recognizes 20 New Graduates
March 3, 2015
Twenty Ohio agribusiness leaders are being recognized as the latest graduates of Ohio AgriBusiness Association’s LAUNCH program. Read More
EquipmentNew AGCO Website Helps Customers Shop For Certified Pre…
March 3, 2015
RoGator sprayers are among the wide range of CPO equipment available through AGCO's site. Read More
Enlist spray Demo
HerbicidesGuiding New Herbicide Systems’ Launches
March 3, 2015
Under careful watch, the new 2,4-D- and dicamba-tolerant crops hit more acres this season. Read More
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2015: Playing The Waiting Game
March 2, 2015
There was plenty of future-talk at this year’s event as companies (and growers) are largely in a holding pattern of sorts. Read More