Why does my Leafy field have an uneven canopy? Is it mixed with another hybrid?

An uneven canopy is an identifier of a Leafy crop. The Leafy gene produces plants that have eight or more leaves above the top ear. If, for example, you have planted a hybrid that averages 10 leaves above the ear, there will be plants in your field that have 11, 12 or 13 leaves. The Leafy gene can be a bit wild like that. Worry not! These extra leaves will add dry matter, and the plants with higher leaf numbers will flower slightly later than the rest of the population for an extended period of pollen shed. This is added assurance of good kernel set.

Do you recommend that I apply a silage inoculant to my Leafy or Floury Leafy?

Leafy Corn Silage Hybrids generally contain more sugars in their stalks and leaves at silage harvest time due to their increased leaf area above the ear and their extended harvest window. These sugars are converted to lactic acid by the naturally present lactobacilli under anaerobic conditions in the silo. The presence of these extra sugars is thought to lead to a more even fermentation. While a well-packed Leafy crop may undergo better fermentation without an inoculant than a non-Leafy, the application of an inoculant adds silage security. Some inoculants also help to preserve dry matter in the open face of a bunker. For added insurance value, we recommend that a silage inoculant be applied at harvest.

Are there any special considerations that my nutritionist and I should be aware of when designing a ration with a Leafy or Floury Leafy?

Yes. Ease back on the concentrate corn initially. Both hybrid types have a starch that is more digestible. Expect your Leafy to be 5-7% more digestible than a conventional and for your Floury Leafy to be 10-12% more digestible. Watch your herd and add concentrate corn back in slowly if needed. 

My Leafy or Floury Leafy yielded really well, and I have some left over. What can I do with it?

If you’ve read the section on grain versus silage, it should be no surprise that these silage specific hybrids are not great grain hybrids. Their kernels are very slow drying and are designed to break. While we don’t recommend that they are harvested for commercial grain, some farmers have done it successfully. Others have harvested it to feed as concentrate corn on farm. Just give them extra time to dry out and make sure to watch stalk integrity. These hybrids make excellent high moisture corn.

I’m considering planting a Leafy or Floury Leafy, but it doesn’t look great in competitive yield trials or with MILK2006. What gives?

Most yield trials are planted at populations that are much too high for Leafies.  While the Leafy may produce high tonnage, under these conditions the Leafy will produce less starch and more lignin and will probably have some agronomic issues such as root lodging. A Leafy must be planted at a low population of 28,000-30,000 ppa (70,000-75,000 pph) to yield its highest quantity of high quality silage. The milk per ton or milk per acre numbers that are generated from these trials are the result of measuring an inferior Leafy crop planted at 35,000 ppa (87,500 pph). Neither calculation takes into account the added starch digestibility of the Leafy or Floury Leafy Corn Silage Hybrid, nor the other silage specific benefits that Leafies offer.

How can I boost the feed quality of a Leafy or Floury Leafy even more?

Leafies and Floury Leafies are high-yielding plants that have a large proportion of their total plant above the ear for a natural boost in fiber digestibility. You can further increase the fiber digestibility and the proportion of starch in the ration by raising the cutting bar during chopping.