crop. The type and variety best suited to the production of ensilage in any locality depend on the length of the growing season and the natural warmth of the soil. The maximum food value per ton is obtained from corn that has reached the glazed stage of maturity, or that stage of ripening when the kernels commence to form a hard crust over their surface. The protein or flesh-forming constituents are then of the greatest amount and highest quality, having developed from nitrogenous substances of a much lower feeding value, which were present in liquid form in the earlier stages of ripening. Ensilage made from corn that has reached only the early milk stage is commonly sour, and although valuable for its succulence, it is markedly deficient as a food for stock when compared with corn that has nearly reached maturity.
It is of first importance to have ensilage corn capable of reaching the glazed stage, even under slightly unfavourable weather conditions, in plenty of time for harvesting before danger of frost; it is of secondary importance to obtain a large yield of both stalk and grain. As a rule, the most profitable variety to grow for ensilage on average soil—the variety that will give the largest food value per acre—is one that may be depended upon to reach full maturity when grown on a warmer soil in the same locality or on a similar soil not more than forty or fifty miles south of it. Experience in ensilage-making invariably demonstrates the wisdom of increasing the acreage of early varieties rather than of depending on large yielding late sorts for the desired tonnage.
For fodder, corn is commonly planted in drills at the rate of from twelve to twenty quarts of good seed to the acre. The drills should be not less than thirty-six inches apart for the short-growing early sorts, and forty-two inches for the tall, late varieties.
When two or more varieties of corn for ensilage are to be planted it is advisable to plant them separate, especially if one of the sorts is taller and later in flowering than the other. When the smaller and earlier varieties are planted in mixture with the larger and later sorts the smaller, early corns are usually imperfectly fertilized and the yield of grain from them is reduced.
Seed: Cross-fertilization between varieties should be prevented if possible. The pollen is carried long distances by wind, and seeds of varieties grown within four hundred yards of each other are apt to be more or less impure.
Both shelled corn and corn in the ear are very retentive of moisture; unless the seed is thoroughly dried before being stored the vitality is apt to be injured or destroyed by heating or severe