Bogus Claim? Calculating Corn Ensilage.


“Hi, got Shumway’s catalog and also double checked the info on the website for the claims made for Goliath Silo corn (product number 09909).  I think they need to check their math: Claim – “The world’s greatest yielder – some report 50 tons per acre”.  This would definately be true if it sounded possible, but after crunching the numbers, it cannot be so.

Here’s the math.  A bushel of corn weighs about 56 pounds.  That would mean this variety was producing 1785 bu/acre:

2000 lbs/ton * 50 tons = 100,000 lbs

corn / 56 pounds/bushel = 1785 bu/acre.

That is 10 times what is considered a good yield by today’s standards using modern machinery and lots of nitrogen.  Even if they were counting the raw weight of the entire plant, roots and all, not just the corn and cob, this would be fantastic claim.

Consider that an ear of corn weighs about 1 lb, that would be 100,000 ears of corn/acre, with 43560 square feet/acre, that would be more than 2 ears of corn per square foot.  It would be hard to image there being more than two ears per stalk.  That would mean a planting rate of 50,000 plants per acre to give you the 100,000 ears of corn at one pound each to give you 50 tons of corn. That is twice the planting rate used in field corn.

Maybe 5 tons per acre would be a bit more realistic?  I think this is a gross exaggeration that someone missed. ~S.”

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http://www.rhshumway.com/dp.asp?pID=09909

I appreciate the time you took to calculate the potential yield this corn may have.  However, in this situation, I think there are two ways to approach this.

If we were talking about the yield of corn seed kernels that this particular variety could potentially produce, then you would be on the right track.  Unless one has a massively wonderful variety (which does not exist), 50 tons of seed per acre is impossible.

However, the 50 tons per acre refers to the biomass of the corn stalk that is used to make ensilage (silo filler).  With the stalks growing 12-15 feet and at recommended seeding rates, it is possible to harvest 50 tons per acre of green organic material (stalks, leaves, and ears/husk combined).  To convert high-moisture silage to its dry bushel equivalent use the formula: Pounds wet * D.M (as decimal) / 47.36. Example: (50 tons at 70% D.M.) is 100,000 pounds * 0.7 / 47.36 = 1,478 bushels. Because of this, it is possible for one acre to produce more tons of feed than 5 acres of other field corn varieties.

 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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