The advent of Shredlage has triggered harvesters to consider charging bonus fees based on kernel processing (KP) scores.

“That will bring everybody up to the same level,” said Dan Lamb, a Bakersfield, CA, custom harvester who attended the early March U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., (USCHI) Convention.

“Other guys (competition) in California will run at 3 mm while I’m running where I’m busting every kernel. And I don’t even get (access to) the processing score. I would like to see it where, if you get over a 75% score, you get a dollar bonus from your customers.”

“Producers are making money right now,” added Jon Orr, who operates Orrson Custom Farming, Apple Creek, OH, and is vice president of USCHI. “We don’t want to take advantage of it, but we don’t want to let that moment go away, either. Two years ago, we all got our shoulders cried on by one or two customers and … we helped (them). It might be time to step back and say we’re doing a great job for you.

“But we need to do a better job,” he added after seeing forage lab numbers showing that excellent-rated KP scores were less than 20% of the total.

KP scores taken at harvest, however, actually underestimate corn silage’s starch digestibility, said University of Wisconsin Extension dairy nutritionist Randy Shaver.

“The KP score, if you did that on a fresh sample, is going to be lower than what it will be coming out of a silo three to six months later, because starch becomes more floury and the particles break down,” he said.

The scoring system itself was developed using a small amount of data and, although it’s the only tool out there, it could be better, the nutritionist added. He and his colleagues have expressed an interest in developing a new in-field test that could more accurately determine corn silage’s starch content.