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Drought conditions and the resulting buildup of nitrates in barren corn plants heighten the possibility of silo gas. Silo gas, combination of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2), forms within a few hours up to three weeks after filling a silo or silage bag. To help limit excess nitrates when harvesting silage farmers should:
|Silo gas, a combination of nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide, is heavier
than air and hovers close to the ground. Farmers harvesting and storing
silage are advised to use extreme caution and seek immediate medical
attention if exposed to any level of silo gas. More information is available at:
Source: Crawford et al., Cornell Miscellaneous Bulletin 37, Nitrate
in Forage Crops and Silage. Benefits, Hazards, Precautions.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is heavier than air and toxic to humans and animals. The gas may be colorless, yellow, or reddish brown with an acrid, bleach-like smell. Unfortunately, gas odor is not a reliable indicator of the presence of nitrogen oxides. Symptoms of silo gas poisoning range from mild to severe and include severe irritation of the nose and throat, coughing, shortness of breath and vomiting. Exposure may lead to lethal fluid buildup in the lungs. Many victims may suffer relapses with pneumonia-like symptoms up to six weeks after exposure. Anyone exposed to silo gas must seek immediate medical attention.
For more information about nitrous gas danger go to: