Effect of Cutting Height on Nutritive Value of Corn Silage

J. Harrison and L. Van Wieringen
Washington State University, Puyallup, WA

At a given maturity, the nutritive value of corn silage can be changed by altering the cutting height. This has been called hi-chop or super silage and is the result of leaving as much as 50cm (20inches) of the lower portion of the stover unharvested (Quaife, 2000). Raising the cutting bar lowers the fibre content and increases the starch content compared to conventional cutting height. While a more digestible forage is harvested, there is also a loss in yield of harvested forage (Table 1). The economics of this practice varies from farm to farm.

Table 1. Effect of cutting height on quality and yield of corn silage.