Winter Storm Informaton

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Stress-Damaged Crops (Frost)

Frost-damaged corn for silage can be classified two ways:

1. Immature - If the killing frost occurs before the plant is mature, it will appear drier than non-frosted corn of the same moisture content. Although leaves may brown along the edges and dry rapidly after a few sunny days, the green stalk and ears do not. Special care should be taken to make sure the moisture of the whole plant is not greater than the optimum range of 63 to 68 percent.

2. Mature _ If the killing frost occurs after the plant has reached maturity, indicated by the black layer on the kernel, the whole-plant moisture content will fall rapidly. A finer chop of a quarter-inch should be considered and water added if the corn cannot be ensiled before the moisture drops below 60 percent. Although yield per acre is reduced, high-quality silage can still be harvested from frost-damaged corn.

Forage sorghum that is frost-damaged should be managed similarly to frost-damaged corn. Producers should be alert to the problem of prussic acid poisoning and the rapid drying of mature plants.

Alfalfa is more likely to cause bloat if it is grazed or fed as greenchop immediately after a frost. However, alfalfa which is mowed, wilted and stored as haylage is not likely to cause bloat.

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