Why calculate Dry Matter (DM)?

  • Maximize nutrient preservation

  • Better and faster silage fermentation

  • Optimum levels mean better density, less shrink and aerobic stability at feedout

  • A factor in purchasing forages

  • Ration formulation at feedout

When should Dry Matter be calculated (DM)?

  • Before harvest, sample stalks form different parts of the field, chop them and calculate Dry Matter. Use this with milk-line analysis (kernels one-half to two-thirds milk line) to determine forage harvest timing.

  • During harvest, sample chopped silage once per hour before it is put into the pile or bunker. Set up to do this at he weigh scale.

  • Can be done at the same time as Kernel Processing Score and Particle Size Evaluation.

What equipment is needed to test Dry Matter?

  • Microwave (and a glass of water) or a Koster tester

  • Paper plate

  • Gram scale (from an office supply store)

  • Binder to file results

  • Log for recording weights, Dry Matter results and storage location

Who can do the Dry Matter calculations? 

  • Anyone who can keep the samples organized and do simple math on a calculator.

  • Recruit and train two to three people to make sure tests are run over entire harvest

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