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Corn Silage Management:
Seeding Rate Studies

June 2011



By Dr. William J. Cox
Professor and Crop Scientist,
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences
Cornell University
Phone:
607-255-1758
Email:wjc3@cornell.edu


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Summary:

This presentation will help consultants, growers, and other practitioners in the Northeast USA region recommend or select seeding rates for corn silage production on silt loam soils. New hybrid releases in the late 2000s compared with hybrid releases in the 1990s have been reported to respond more favorably to high seeding rates for grain production but there is limited data on responses for silage production. We will present studies conducted in NY on silt loam soils in the 1990s that show that silage yields peaked out at seeding rates between 36,000 and 40,000 kernels/acre, but quality (in vitro true digestibility and crude protein) decreased as seeding rates increased. Consequently, we recommended seeding rates at about 34,000 kernels/acre up until 2009. A recent study (2008 and 2009) with different hybrid types indicated that yields once again peaked out at seeding rates between 35,000 and 40,000 kernels/acre, but with no negative impact on fiber digestibility or starch concentrations (although neutral detergent fiber and crude protein decreased slightly) as seeding rates increased. Based on this recent study, we now recommend seeding rates on silt loam soils of 35,000 kernels/acre for all hybrid types, including brown midrib hybrids.


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