Home-grown forages are one of the primary ways farmers can save on feed costs and work to put up the best forages to maximize production. There are several ways to analyze the performance of feeds in addition to what the cows tell us directly.

For all silages, it is important to pack the bunk correctly and ensure proper fermentation occurs. Using the Master Forage Probe, a product made by Dairy One and collaborators, you have an easy, on-farm tool to measure the pack density of the bunk. The probe is inserted into the bunk in multiple locations, where at each location the user measures the depth of the probe and the weight of the sample extracted. These measurements, along with DM, can be used to calculate average density using our Density Calculator. Penn State recommends a minimum density for corn silage of 12-14lbs dm/ft³.

Our fermentation profile package is an excellent way to measure how the feed fermented; think of it as your very own harvest management feedback consultant. The panel includes lactic, acetic, lactic/acetic ratio, propionic, butyric, iso-butyric, VFA score, total acids, pH, crude protein, crude protein equivalent from ammonia, and ammonia N as a percent of total N. Goal, typical, and graphical results are displayed to aid in interpretation.

Additional diagnostic tools that can be used to create your full silage report card are a Penn State Shaker test, to determine the chop length, and a Corn Silage Processing Score (CSPS), to analyze kernel processing. We recommend performing the shaker box directly on-farm for immediate results. For CSPS, samples can be sent to the lab.