Options for hail damaged corn assessed as a total loss.

Hail in late July severely damaged much corn in Wisconsin. Some fields will be assessed as total losses. Corn that was broken off at the ear will not continue to grow. What options remain for those planning on silage?

  1. If the crop was insured, check with insurance adjuster to ensure that any action does not cause a greater loss in payment than the value of forage produced.
  2. Consider the value of the nutrients if the crop is simply disked down.
  3. Harvest the remaining forage for silage as the whole plant moisture dries down. Make sure the forage to be ensiled is at the proper moisture. The lower stalk and leaves will ferment if harvested at 60 to 70% (moisture depending on storage type) and produce a low quality silage adequate for heifers and dry cows.
  4. A common question is: what can be planted to produce more tonnage yet this year? Frankly the options are few this late in the season.
    1. Absolutely do not plant sorghum-sudangrass or sudangrass. This is a warm season annual that will grow only very little when the average daily temperature falls below 80o F. Since little growth will occur in September, the result will be low yield.
    2. Corn planted August 1 can be expected to yield about 0.7 to 2.8 t/a dry matter in Southern Wisconsin. These yields were achieved in 2006 and 2005 when a killing frost hit on October 12 and October 26.
    3. Oats planted during the first two weeks of August can be expected to yield 1 to 2 t/a dry matter in Southern Wisconsin and less as one moves north.
    4. Other small grains will yield less because they will not head this year.
    5. Some acres may be prepared for winter wheat production.

Dan Undersander, Joe Lauer, and Shawn Conley, Agronomists, University of Wisconsin

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