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Harvesting Drought Stressed Forages

The drought in our area looks like it could be a thorn in everyone’s side all season. This drought is causing plant stress that is usually shown with curled and wilting leaves. This will cause corn yields to decrease as ear length is set v6- v8 and length is set v10- v12. If moisture stress is less later in the season, ear size cannot increase. Click “The Use and Pricing of Drought- Stressed Corn” for more information about harvest and pricing.

Soybeans are typically grown as a grain crop, they can be grazed or harvested as either a hay or silage crop. This most commonly occurs when the grain potential of the soybean crop has been reduced by drought, hail damage, or early frost. A realistic forage yield expectation for drought stressed soybeans would be 1.5 to 2.0 tons of dry matter per acre. The objective of this article is to provide practical tips for successfully, grazing, conserving and feeding drought stressed soybeans. Click “Utilizing drought stresses soybeans for forage” for more information.

Drought stress is usually the major limitation to forage yields. When drought has compromised tonnage of corn grain, silage producers may still retain part of its feeding value. While grazing the plants is an alternative, mechanical harvesting maximizes the tonnage obtained. Preserving drought-stressed corn plants as hay is usually not recommended because plants retain moisture and are difficult to dry. Preserving high moisture corn plants as baleage (50-60 percent moisture) can also offer difficulties as stalks can puncture the plastic wrap with air infiltration of the forage mass. Click “Using Drought- Stressed Corn as Forage” for more information

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