Evaluation of Corn Products for Silage Yield Potential and Quality

April 4, 2023

Click on a tab below to see data collected each year for this study

Trial Objective

  • Cattle producers across the Great Plains rely on corn silage as a feedstock. A desirable corn silage product should provide a combination of high tonnage and favorable quality characteristics.
  • The objectives of this study were to:
    • Evaluate ten DEKALB® brand corn products with relative maturities (RM) from 103 to 120.
    • Provide farmers with insight into different product options to help maximize silage yield potential and quality within their geography.

Research Site Details

Location Gothenburg, NE 
Soil Type  Hord silt loam 
Strip-tillage and no-till  
Planting Date 4/27/22
Harvest Date 9/2/2022 & 9/9/2022
Potential Yield
Seeding Rate
  • The study was designed as a randomized complete block design with three replications.
  • Ten DEKALB® brand RIB Complete® corn blend products with relative maturities from 103 to 120 were evaluated for tonnage and quality characteristics.
  • Sprinkler irrigation was used to apply 10-inches of water during the growing season. An additional 9.45- inches of rainfall occurred during the growing season.
  • The trial was strip-tilled on 04/25/2022 with a base fertilizer application of 29 lbs of nitrogen (N/acre), 60 lbs of phosphorus (P/acre), 25 lbs of sulfur (S/acre), and 0.25 lbs Zinc (Zn/acre).
  • Silage was harvested when most of the products were at about half to two-thirds milk line using a silage chopper without a kernel processor. Total biomass was collected and weighed. A sample of the freshly chopped material was collected and sent to Dairyland Laboratories Inc. for silage quality analysis.
Corn kernel image.
Figure 1. Corn kernels at ½ milk line.

Figure 2. Silage trial at harvest showing plant health and stubble to gauge cutting height.

Understanding the Results

Table 1. Key yield and quality characteristics of 10 DEKALB® brand RIB Complete® corn blend products evaluated to determine silage utility.

table image

Table image
Figure 3. Average silage yield (tons/acre) for ten DEKALB® Brand RIB Complete® corn blend products spanning relative maturities of 103 to 120.

  • In terms of silage quality characteristics, results for each characteristic were highly dependent on the specific corn product and not related specifically to RM. Table 1 lists the quality characteristics for each corn product tested. 

Key Learnings

  • Producers should work with their local DEKALB® brand seed sales team to identify the corn product or products with the desired silage characteristics for their operation.
  • Additional quality characteristics are available on request working through your local sales team.
  • Corn product selection for silage production depends on the RM that the grower needs to suit their geography.
  • Each product, regardless of RM, has a specific set of fiber quality characteristics and growers should consider the product options within their optimal RM range to suit their specific operation.