Baling dry corn? can it be done?

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May 12, 2021
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I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried to swath and bale dry corn, not stover but with the cobs on? We do a lot of bale grazing and feeding in pasture away from roads and yard. Deer are starting to damage our later fields of corn grazing. We could graze the fields after we swath and bale so any lost cobs could be cleaned up. Just wondering if anyone has ever tried or knows of anyone who has tried this. A lot easier to haul bales around than pull a silage wagon. Thinking of swathing late and letting dry for a few weeks before baling, maybe using a real low heat units variety seeded early. Also considering round bale silaging it if it wont get dry, extra cost and heavier bales is the concern.
HI Stoneridgemb, where are you located?
mb... hmm Massachusetts Bay? :)
Please add location to profile

Any who plant corn do so to harvest grain or chop for silage. But if you're talking just a few acres, go ahead and give it a go.
I'd suggest cutting it high, 10+ inches above the ground.
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It can be done, but I bet it's hard on equipment. Today's corn grain hybrids have really high lignin content in stalks.
In 2007, we had a disastrous Easter freeze (4 consecutive nights of temps into the low teens), followed by drought - a single 1" rain even between May 1 and Nov 30. Pastures decimated, no local hay... beef producers around here were paying as much as $90-$100 per roll for corn stalks (rolled after grain harvest) or CRP residue released for haying after Oct 1. I saw rolls of CRP 'hay' that had an ATV-size pile of honeylocust sprouts 1-2" diameter at the base, leftover, after the cows picked through for what they could eat.
Baling dry corn/cornstalks is remarkably hard on your equipment -- yet I do it each fall. Starting the bale can be tricky, particularly with long stalks.

I've found that cattle love corn stalk bales.
depending on what stage the plant is in and what type of cutter you plan on using you will have significant grain loss. A sickle mower is definitely out. A disk mower may get through it. (I’ve mowed still green corn in July with no problem) but a rotary Sythe would probably cut the best. They will shake the plant a lot though.
I’ve heard of guys around here combining corn around 27-28% , then baling the stalks still wet and wrapping them in plastic. If you have any heat the bales will insel.
Yes Manitoba, snow is just leaving us here over the past few days. The thought was to try and swath it with as small a width as i can find. I have swathed it in the past with an old 18' versatile 400. but was so long ago that i can't really say what the results were. we baled it as a comparison to bale grazing oats or barley or something.
Was wondering if anyone has seen any kind of university or conservation group that has given it a try. Sometimes answers are out there all you have to do is ask.
We baled some green a couple years ago for silage. A neighbor had a batch that wasn't going to yield well and wasn't worth picking. It worked okay, as mentioned there was a lot of grain loss. I imagine that would probably be worse if it was dry.

We mowed it two rows at a time with a small sickle mower, we tried a disc mower and found it to be too destructive, threshed a lot of grain out. The sickle just snipped them off and laid them over on top of the stalks, made it fairly easy for the baler to pick them up. This was planted in 30" rows, I baled it two rows at a time as three wouldn't fit in the pickup and I don't think you could rake it over the stalks.

Our baler has a crop cutter which we were utilizing, I had wondered in not using it would've resulted in less grain loss, but I didn't try any without it.

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