NDSU Extension - Williams County


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September 10, 2015


Silage corn in western North Dakota is becoming more of a known item to be growing. With our area normally not receiving enough moisture to grow corn without irrigation, the option of field corn for livestock gives ranchers a chance for a different feedstuff. Some producers might be thinking they want to start harvest because the corn is drying up, but not wanting it to get too dry or it will be no good for silage. Creating silage can be a bit of a challenge, if the moisture content is too low it will not produce enough acid to preserve its self. When it is too dry, it will quickly lose its nutrients due to the constant heat, cattle can still eat this but it will not be as nutritional as properly harvested and stored silage. There can also be some problems when the moisture content is too high, it will be poorly fermented and will create a very distinct unpleasant small which cattle will refuse to eat. In the past, experts recommended that corn silage be harvested at the black-layer stage of maturity but more recently that has changed. Experts now say to receive the highest nutritional value and good silage, harvest whole-plant silage at the one-half milk line. But of course this is not an exact science, also checking to see if the kernels are denting along with the milk line is a sign to chop some whole plants to check moisture content. Another useful tool is the U2U Decision Support Tools, which helps you determine the Corn Growing Degree Days (GDD) https://mygeohub.org/groups/u2u/gdd. After harvest packing silage, especially in bags, bunkers and piles is very important. If you are storing silage in bags, make sure you set the tension as tight as possible. The goal is 14 pounds of dry matter or more per square foot of silage. Bunkers and piles should be filled using the wedge method, which is filling at a 40-degree angle. To find more information please visit http://tinyurl.com/cornsilage .


Garden Harvest

With the garden season coming quickly to an end, here are some way to decide when your fruit and veggies are mature and ready to eat;

  • Winter Squash- When the skin is hard and can no longer be punctured by a fingernail, loses its glossiness and turns dull it is ready to be picked. Most of the time, harvest can be delayed until frost is expected.

  • Onions- With onions growing underground, it can be a challenge to determine when the onions are mature. One of the main ways to determine is when the tops have fallen over and have shriveled. Shake off lose dirt and cure bulbs in a warm airy spot until necks are withered. Store in a cool, dry place.

  • Potato- Like onions, potatoes may be a challenge to determine when mature as well. Potatoes may be harvested any time after blossom, mature potatoes are harvested when leaves are dry and die. Shake off lose dirt, avoid bruising and store in a cool, moist, dark location.

  • Watermelon- When watermelons are large, it does not mean they are ripe. When the tendril next to the fruit dries, the rind will be faded and no longer glossy.

  • Cantaloupe- Fully ripened fruit slips off the vine with a gentle tug. Rind will be yellowish

  • Sunflower- harvest when the back of the head is banana yellow to brown. Cut entire head and hang in mesh bag to dry for a few weeks, seeds will easily come out when rubbed.

  • Apple- The background color (color right by the stem) turns from green to yellow. Fruit comes off easily by using an upward twisting motion.

  • Pear- Harvest before fully mature, pick when skin changed from dark green to yellowish-green

  • Plum- Plums turn bright green to light green to mature color (red, purple or yellow).

The previous information was taken from the NDSU Yard and Garden Report Vol 3 No 12.


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