At Harvest Corn Silage Nitrate Test

Any suspect feed should be tested for nitrate levels before feeding. The silage can also be tested at harvest to determine if nitrates are a cause for concern. Because nitrate levels decline during ensiling, regular forage tests for formulating rations, taken as the silage is fed, should also include a nitrate analysis.

Under certain environmental conditions, such as dry weather followed by a wet period, there is the potential for nitrates to increase in corn silage. Although it is difficult to predict when nitrates will become problematic, the problem is most severe on drought stunted, heavily manured fields for 3—4 days following a drought ending rain event. In addition to health concerns for cattle, higher nitrate silage can also pose a higher risk for the development of silo gas.

A representative chopped sample (~1 pint) of silage should be collected, frozen and then sent to the lab in a sealed plastic bag as quickly as possible (Overnight). If the sample begins to ferment the results will not be reliable.

Service Fees

At Harvest Corn Silage Nitrate Test $12.00

Submitting Your Sample

To submit a sample, complete the Corn Silage Nitrate Submission Form and send your sample with payment to:

The Pennsylvania State University
111 Ag Analytical Srvcs Lab
University Park, PA 16802-1114

Crop conditions have turned from dry to wet in many areas and our corn silage harvest is continuing. This has raised some concerns about the potential for nitrates in corn silage. Nitrates are a possibility under these conditions and are often hard to predict when then will appear.