Corn that didn’t get the moisture to develop ears can be chopped for silage and lose only 10-25% of its energy, says Joe Lauer, extension corn agronomist with the University of Wisconsin.
“There’s a bit of quality loss, but it’s not as bad as people think. What happens is that the energy, instead of getting stored as starch in the grain, gets stored as sugars in the stalk,” Lauer says.
“Where you will be hurting is on tonnage, because that ear is about half the weight of the plant. If you’re expecting 8 tons of dry matter per acre and don’t get any grain, you’re only going to get about 4 tons. But the quality of that dry matter is going to be somewhere between 75-90% of what it would normally be.”
Greenchopped corn of this sort should be fed with care because of possible nitrate poisoning. But nitrates in ensiled silage will become volatilized as gases after the ensiling period of three weeks, Lauer says.