Come to Warren Creek Farm’s fields in the Arcata bottoms to see which varieties of silage corn can be successfully grown in our area.
Warren Creek Farms will host a tour of the 2013 Organic Silage Corn Variety Trial, where participants can learn about the goals and methods of the trial, see the varieties, and learn how to conduct their own variety trials.
Why have a silage corn variety trial?
Dairy farming is an integral part of agriculture on the North Coast. Our climate and the soils of our deltas, river valleys and flood plains allow dairy farmers here to successfully graze cows on excellent pasture for the majority of the year. However, some supplemental feed is required, included grain, hay, and silage. Silage corn is corn grown to near maturity, then harvested as a whole plant, chopped, and fermented (ensiled) to increase its digestibility.
Although silage corn is just a small part of the diet of local dairy cows, it is nonetheless an important crop locally. Local silage producers face a couple of challenges. The first challenge is that we live in an area that is drastically different from the major corn producing areas. Because we have such cool summers, there are very few varieties that will be able to mature here. The second challenge is that, for the past decade or more, the major corn breeding companies have focused on varieties released with genetically engineered traits.
In order to provide coastal dairy farmers with better information about silage corn variety choices, Organic Seed Alliance is conducting a silage corn trial in 2014. This is a rigorous, replicated trial of 10 promising non-GE silage corns. We will be looking at yield, maturity and silage quality. We are conducting this in the Arcata Bottoms in partnership with Warren Creek Farms, and supported by UCCE-Humboldt, CCOF, Columbia Foundation and Gaia Fund.