Taking Good Silage Samples

Silage Corn
Western Canada

Harvest timing

  • It is best to chop when whole plant moisture is between 60 and 70%
  • Ensure you are harvesting each variety separately
  • Weigh each hybrid immediately after it’s been harvested

Ensure you take a relative sample

  • Scoop one handful from four random areas in the plot sample
  • Place samples in a large Ziploc freezer bag and be sure to remove as much air as possible
  • Scoop rather than ‘grab’ samples to avoid losing kernels or cob pieces. Four handfuls are approximately 1.5lbs and sampling more than this is unnecessary

Label all samples

  • Be sure to label all samples with proper variety name and trial name
  • A sharpie on a Ziploc bags works perfectly
  • Labelling keeps everything organized and neat both for you, and for the lab

Freeze the samples

  • Freeze and flatten samples as soon as possible
  • Work to remove all the air from samples and flatten them as well as possible
  • Tightly packed samples keep better and are easier to ship
  • Freeze for 48 hours before shipping to ensure samples stay frozen


  • Place flattened samples in an insulated container for shipping
  • Adding newspaper into empty space helps to keep this cold longer
  • Ice packs can also help, but are not necessary
  • Ship early in the week to avoid delays and spoilage