SILAGE HYBRID CHARACTERISTICS (Based on whole % of plant)

Key: (1) Relative Maturity Range = Midwest is 1st#, and NE U.S. is 2nd#. (2) NDF Ranges: Low = 39% to 42%, Medium = 43% to 46%, High = 47% to 50% based on average conditions. (3) NFC Ranges: Low = 35% to 38%, Medium = 39% to 42%, High 43% to 46% based on average conditions. (4) NDFd: Harvest moisture and environment can significantly impact the actual NDFd you produce. (5) Recommended populations may vary based on agronomic conditions in your area.

Note:  The above values are based on normal growing conditions and recommended planting population. Weather and crop management can significantly influence the actual values produced on your farming operation.


An old school of thought once suggested that the best silage corn was obtained by simply chopping your biggest and tallest grain hybrids. While this method may satisfy some tonnage requirements, there is much left to be desired when speaking in terms of actually benefiting a cow’s diet. Many years of corn breeding with the goals of producing digestible, easily manageable corn silage have resulted in leafy corn hybrids designed to profitably feed dairy cows. These silage specific leafy hybrids have certain characteristics that are far more beneficial to a cow and more easily enable the cow to utilize a greater amount of the whole plant compared to a traditional grain variety. Generally speaking, leafy varieties bring more to the table than any other grain or “dual purpose” hybrid. Here’s a few reasons why:


  • High yields of digestible nutrients - Leafy varieties typically produce 7 -10 leaves above the ear resulting in greater tonnage than grain, or dual-purpose varieties. Leafy varieties are also bred for specific characteristics, which include a thinner stalk rind (50-54% digestible) and larger pith (72-74% digestible).


  • Soft kernel texture/digestible starch - Leafy varieties are bred to have soft, more floury-type grain kernels. As a result, the soft kernel texture has increased starch digestibility compared to dual-purpose hybrids, and decreased kernel passage. This is a benefit when the processing of corn silage is not available.


  • Slow kernel filling and dry-down - Compared to grain varieties, leafy corn varieties have twice the window of harvest. With a wider window of harvest, it is easier to harvest the silage at ideal moistures. A slower grain filling period also allows the stalk and leaves more drying time, which results in a better equated overall moisture to avoid seepage.


• Maturity for pre-frost harvest - After frost, studies have shown that energy levels in corn may drop an average of 1.5 points per frost. Determined in tests using dual-purpose checks, farmers who plant a 95 day grain hybrid would plant a corresponding leafy variety of 95- 97 days. With many varieties of leafy corn to choose from, you can pick the variety that best suits your geographic area.


   • High energy potential - Trials conducted in Canada showed that leafy corn varieties contain twice the amount of carbohydrates above the ear compared to dual-purpose hybrids. The forage carbohydrates are usually found as sugars. A higher sugar content thus relates to high palatability. Additional sugars may also aid in the fermentation process.


• Special traits for producer’s needs - Leafy silage varieties are available from WOLF RIVER VALLEY SEEDS in herbicide resistant versions to offer just one more incredible benefit from an already amazing product.

Leafy Floury hybrids have been selected in trials grown at 30,000 plants per acre on best soils. For drier and lighter soils, a PPA of 24,000 will ensure better silage quality and quantity. This population density is a requirement to produce silage with better fiber digestibility and higher starch content compared to the same hybrid grown at a higher plant population.  Planting Leafy at a higher population than this recommendation results in lower starch levels (%). A recent study showed that Leafy planted at recommended populations out-yielded both bmr and Dual Purpose varieties that were planted at their recommended, much higher populations. Leafy offers you the opportunity to plant less seed and harvest a larger, more reliable crop with best digestibility of both starch and fiber compared to higher plant populations.

2016 Seed Guide

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Get the latest information on the highest quality seed products available only from Wolf River Valley Seeds and start planning your 2016 growing season.


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