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

ManagementAn Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tootelian
April 20, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses An Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tootelian Read More
Crop InputsFBN Publishes ‘Voice of the Farmer’ Agriculture State of the Industry Style Report
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, which the company is describing as “a special Read More
ManagementTalking Responsible Ag
April 13, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the Responsible Ag program with director Bill Qualls. Read More
ManagementFMC-DuPont, Crop Plantings, and UAV Updates
April 6, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Jackie Pucci discuss the purchase agreement between DuPont and FMC, the 2017 crop acreage mix and Read More
Trending Articles
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teaching Fertilizer Education
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
Latest News
ManagementAn Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tooteli…
April 20, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses An Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tootelian Read More
Students Soybean Field
Industry NewsMACA Announces 2017 Young Leader Scholarship Recipients
April 19, 2017
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) Board of Directors selected 11 college students to receive the MACA Young Leader Scholarship Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
SoftwareKnoa Software Solution Helps GROWMARK Boost System Perf…
April 19, 2017
Knoa Software, a leading provider of user experience management (UEM) software, has announced that GROWMARK, Inc., a regional agricultural cooperative Read More
Crop InputsFBN Publishes ‘Voice of the Farmer’ Agricul…
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, which the company is describing as “a special Read More
ManagementTalking Responsible Ag
April 13, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the Responsible Ag program with director Bill Qualls. Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Crop InputsWhat do Roundup and Mickey Mouse Have in Common? Califo…
April 13, 2017
(SOURCE: East Valley Times) Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto Co.’s Roundup and many other weed killers, is being added Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSource: ChemChina to Divest Assets to Adama Following S…
April 11, 2017
China National Chemical Corp. plans to redistribute agrochemical assets to its Adama unit after the $43 billion takeover of Syngenta Read More
Farming drone air
Eric SfiligojThe Interest in UAVs for Agriculture Grows
April 10, 2017
At times, it seems as if experts have been predicting “big things” for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for several years Read More
OpinionOpinion: Taking On The Farmers Business Network
April 8, 2017
Well, another round of venture capital funding has come to Farmers Business Network (FBN), followed up with the obligatory feature Read More
Drone
EquipmentFarming Drones: The Future Of Agriculture?
April 7, 2017
Chances are, you already know drones are amazing. After all, this is something DroneLife readers just understand. But if you’re Read More
ManagementFMC-DuPont, Crop Plantings, and UAV Updates
April 6, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Jackie Pucci discuss the purchase agreement between DuPont and FMC, the 2017 crop acreage mix and Read More
Falcon soil sampler
EquipmentSerious Soil Sampling Rigs
April 6, 2017
The industry has seen an increase in automation in sampling equipment, and consultants now often pull cores with an automated Read More
Iowa waterways
FertilizerDow AgroSciences Recognizes Ag Retailers’ Role in Prote…
April 6, 2017
The state of Iowa and its agriculture community have worked for decades to preserve soil health, protect water quality and Read More
Farmer Scouting Weeds in Soybean Field
EquipmentSoil, Scouting Programs Continue To Gain Value
April 5, 2017
How much growers and their retailers utilize soil testing and scouting varies greatly. But they should step up their game Read More
Forbes Mixing Bowl NYC
Precision Ag6 Key Takeaways from Forbes Mixing Bowl NYC
April 5, 2017
Advisory investment group The Mixing Bowl teamed up with Forbes for its New York-based event this year to discuss technology’s Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsQ&A With Pam Marrone On The World’s First All-Biolo…
April 4, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. and Israel-based Ground­work BioAg in February announced successful field trials of the world’s first all-biological comprehensive Read More
Corn soil
Crop NutritionBiostimulants Clamor For A Piece Of The Row Crop Market
April 3, 2017
The question these days isn’t who is venturing into biostimulants — it’s who isn’t. Or more to the point: The Read More