Nitrate Testing Corn for Silage/Feed

by: Bruce Clevenger

There has been a lot of interested in testing drought-stressed corn for nitrate levels. Rightly so! Nitrate poisoning is a real concern for livestock production. Under normal growing conditions, nitrate is quickly converted to nitrite, then to ammonia, and finally into plant proteins and other compounds. When plant growth is slowed or stopped, nitrate can accumulate in the plant. Drought, frost, cool, cloudy weather can cause nitrate to accumulate. Rainfall following an extended dry period may cause an immediate increase in nitrates for 2 to 5 days until the plant can concert the nitrate to protein.

OSU Extension Defiance County is hosting a meeting on August 10, 2012 titled: Corn Silage and Forages: 2012 Drought, Management and Economics. The meeting will be taught by OSU’s Dr. Bill Weiss and Diane Shoemaker. Topics will include: Harvest Management, Feeding Drought Forages, Pricing Corn for Silage, and Q & A.  The program is free and will be from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at the OSU Extension office, 06879 Evansport Road, Defiance, OH. RSVP by calling 419-782-4771 or email

A & L Great Lakes Laboratory in Ft. Wayne, IN summarized nitrate samples received into the lab in a report dated July 27th

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