Montana Silage Corn with Link Dorvall – Kussmaul Seed Company

Out in the corn field checking to see if crop is ready to chop for silage. We have a guest at Felton Angus Ranch, Link Dorvall with Kussmaul Seed Company. Growing BIG silage corn in Montana at 5,000 ft takes a short day variety seed for high altitude. Link is out here making sure the corn is ready to go!

Welcome Link!

We are expecting a big silage crew anytime this week. Link is here taking a look and making sure crop is ready to chop.

Link: We’ve got a nice looking corn crop started here at the Felton Angus Ranch in Springdale, Montana. We are pushing right at 5000 feet this 13th day of September. Jim called wanted to know if it was ready to go. It’s looking good. We’ve got some ears pulled back and this is on an 87 day variety with a beautiful nice uniform ear. Planted at 36,000 population. Nothing wrong with that for an ear of corn in Montana! Felton Angus cows will be happy this winter.

Guessing that we are right around that 70% moisture on this variety. Sounds like the chopping crew will be swinging in this afternoon or tomorrow. It’s a good day to chop corn, about 46 degrees this morning and a little chilly. Got a little mist in the air but that’s good corn chopping weather. Nice corn. Plant health is good. No spider mites. A good tight husk on the ear with no bird damage. Beautiful corn crop. Good year for corn.

Susie: What is denting and why is it important?

Link: In the center of the kernel you can see that it is dented. What that’s telling you that it’s maturing, the moisture in the corn is leaving and the starch layer is developing. You are starting to put meat in the kernel, good feed value there. This corn is dented far enough that it would be pretty close to making it if we do get a frost. Which chances are we will get one. It’s close enough that if we keep the frost above the ear for another week, we’ll be in good shape. This will combine here too.

That’s how we look at maturity on corn as far as being ready to chop. To look at the dent in the ear and see the moisture level moving down in the kernel.

Susie: It’s been a little controversial that my Montana Rancher grows corn at 5000 ft. How are we getting a crop as far as seed varieties and production?

Link: It’s a lot of trial and error to match the right variety for your particular area. Our areas will change a lot as well as our varieties. Our elevation will drop in Billings up to here. At 3000 ft, Billings can plant a longer day corn. A shorter day corn up in higher elevation. It takes a little bit of tweaking to find the exact variety that matches to make things work. Not every 84 day variety will work in every situation.

Susie: Link has made the difference in us getting a corn crop at higher elevation. Contact him at if you have any questions.

Thank you Link!



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A big hello from the banks of the Yellowstone River in Montana! My Montana Rancher  and I raise cattle, kids and crops here in big sky country. Welcome to our ranch!

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