When you own most of the machines that exist for doing a particular job, you might get more work than you can handle.

That was the case last year for Jim Anderson and James Young of Newman, IL. They bought three of the first four choppers built for making silage from the male rows of seed-corn fields.

Their new business, Millennium Agricultural Services, chopped 17,000 acres in Illinois, Indiana, Texas and Wisconsin.

“The demand for our service is pretty strong,” Young reports. “We could have contracted a lot more acres than we would have been able to handle. That's probably the case this year, too.”

The Modern Flow high-clearance choppers are built by Paul's Machine & Welding, Villa Grove, IL. Each chopper straddles four female rows, taking out single male rows on both sides.

Anderson and Young provide a service to seed-corn companies, plus high-quality feed to livestock producers. Seed companies usually run down the male rows as soon as pollination is complete. By having those rows chopped, they save time and money. And removing the plants eliminates the risk that some of the grain will end up in the seed crop.

Some seed companies pay to have the male rows removed. In other cases, Anderson and Young depend solely on the income from silage sales.

The rows are chopped a week or two after pollination, when whole-plant moisture is down to around 70%. Young says the silage is comparable in quality to silage from commercial cornfields. Those rows have less grain, but the plants are smaller, too. Silage yields average about 2 tons/acre.

The male-row chopping business only works in areas with both seed-corn and livestock production. That's why Anderson and Young go beyond central Illinois, where they both farm.

“We could contract more seed acres here than we have markets for silage,” says Young.

They work under contracts with seed companies and the dairy and beef producers who buy the chopped corn.

“We don't make commitments to either side until we get commitments from both of them,” he says.

The choppers have high-lift hoppers for dumping the chopped corn into trucks or wagons for hauling to storage, usually bunker silos. Buyers sometimes do their own hauling. But Anderson and Young are equipped to do the hauling and packing, and also offer a bagging service.

For more information, contact Young at 217-837-2622 or jyoung@starband.net.