Snaplage increases yields 15% to 20%
Research by Dupont Pioneer agronomists confirms that snaplage can boost yields 15% to 20% more than harvesting high moisture corn alone.
Along with the grain, snaplage harvests husk, cob and ear shank. Nutritionally, snaplage will have an intermediate value between high moisture corn and corn silage, says Dan Wiersma, livestock information manager for Dupont Pioneer.
In 2012 Wisconsin trials, snaplage yields ranged from 6 to 7 tons acres with starch content ranging from about 60% to 66%, depending on the hybrid and field.
Key to harvesting snaplage is moisture content. "The ideal moisture is between 36% and 42% for the final snaplage product (kernel moisture will be at about 34% to 36% at this stage)," Wiersma says.
"At this moisture, corn is physiologically mature and maximum starch production has occurred. In addition, the digestibility of the cob is high," he says.
Once snaplage moisture reaches about 35%, it’s probably best to switch to harvesting only the grain as high moisture. While you will lose yield, it will prevent feeding and digestibility concerns, Wiersma says.
Field data show neutral detergent fiber levels increase in the cob, husk and shank at lower moistures and later harvest dates. "At each of our locations, the product with the highest harvest moisture also had the higher invitro starch digestibility percentage," Wiersma says.
Snaplage is harvested by mounting a snapper head on a forage chopper. Equipment should be adjusted to inflict maximum damage to both corn kernels and cobs. "All corn kernels should be cracked and cob pieces should be smaller than your thumbnail," Wiersma says.
"Use a very short chopping length and use the fine-tooth rollers adjusted 2 to 3 mm apart," he says "Also, the differential speed of rollers may need to be set higher for snaplage than for silage.