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Monday, December 29, 2008

Selecting corn hybrids for profitable silage

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist

Hybrid selection is a key step for profitable production of silage and milk. To reduce risk, producers should select multiple hybrids based on information from numerous sources including universities, seed companies, and commodity groups. Data from individual on-farm trials should also be used if available. Results from this year's University of Minnesota silage trials are available at Past University of Minnesota trial results are available at If internet access is not available, contact your local extension office for a copy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Energy costs for corn drying and cooling

Bill Wilcke, University of Minnesota Extension Engineer,
Reviewers: Vance Morey, Professor, UofM Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Dept, and Lizabeth Stahl, Extension Educator – Crops

The purpose of this brief article is to provide enough information so that readers can estimate costs for drying and cooling corn. Grain needs to be dry to be stored through warm weather and it takes some energy to remove moisture from grain, but there are things that can be done to manage energy use. More information about managing dryers and storage can be found on the University of Minnesota Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Extension post-harvest web page (

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Maturity, frost, and harvest moisture considerations for corn

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist

Corn Maturity and Frost

Due in part to late planting and cool temperatures this year, much of Minnesota's corn crop will reach maturity (black layer) a little later than normal. In southern Minnesota, a lot of the corn is expected to reach maturity around September 20. In and around the Red River Valley, much of the corn will not reach maturity until the last week of September. As a result, there is a decent chance some corn will receive a frost before reaching maturity, especially in northern Minnesota.

Avoid excessive harvest of corn residue to maintain soil productivity

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist

Corn residue as a commodity?

In most fields, corn residue remaining after grain harvest is incorporated into the soil with tillage or is left on the soil surface. Currently, corn residue is being harvested by some livestock producers, and there is interest in producing ethanol from corn residue in the near future (Perlack et al., 2005). However, soil productivity (synonymous with soil carbon) will be reduced if all corn residue in a field is harvested regularly and there is not another source of carbon being returned to the soil to replace the carbon removed with the residue. Good sources of carbon include: i) manure; ii) bi-products from industrial processes such as ash; and iii) winter cover crops. Increased fertilization in fields where residue is harvested will help replace some of the nutrients removed in the residue, but it will not compensate for the lost carbon. In addition, nitrogen fertilizer rates in continuous corn should actually be reduced following corn residue harvest.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wind and Hail Damage to Pollinating Corn

Jeff Coulter, Extension Corn Agronomist

wind damage in corn
Figure 1. Leaf loss, stalk breakage, and root lodging in corn. Photo: Paul Bruns
Strong winds and hail on July 31 affected numerous corn fields throughout southern and central Minnesota (Figs. 1 and 2). Damage included loss of leaf area and stem bruising from hail stones, along with root lodging and stalk breakage from high winds. When the damage occurred, tassels were just starting to become visible in some fields, while pollination was partially or completely finished in other fields.
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