Missouri Dairy Business Update Volume 9, Number 8 August 2009

Pricing Corn Silage this Year

What is a Fair Price for Corn Silage this year?
Excellent crops and declining grain prices make this another year where people are scratching heads on what to price corn silage. Below are some helpful tips on pricing corn silage.

Q:  What did it cost to raise a ton of corn silage in Missouri this year?

A:  That depends a lot on what your yields were and when and where you bought fertilizer or if you used manure in place of purchase P & K.  Listed below are two budgets for producing corn silage this year, one at 16 Ton yields, one at 20 Ton yields.

Q:        How do I estimate the tonnage of corn silage in a field?

A:        Sample Weight Method
A more accurate way to estimate yields is to weigh the corn plants from a portion of an acre (1/100th) in several spots of the field. To do this, determine row width, then cut corn plants in one row for a certain length according to row width in the following table:

 Row Length Row Width 32.50 ft. 30” 28.75 ft. 36” 27.50 ft. 38” 26.25 ft. 40”

Next, weigh the amount of whole corn plant material cut in pounds. Divide the pounds harvested by 4. That's the estimated tons produced per acre. Follow this method for several areas and average the results.

For example – If the row width was 30” and 32.5 ft. or row was cut and weighed 64 lbs., this field would yield 16 tons of corn silage /acre (64 divided by 4 = 16 tons). In order to obtain actual tons harvested, weigh each wagon load or count how many feet of silage went into a silo after settling. If you know the silo size, how many feet of silage was put up and what the moisture was, silo charts can be used to calculate tons stored. Dividing stored tons by acres harvested will give you yield per acre.

Q:        How do I adjust the price of silage to fit my situation?

A:        See the excel decision aid spreadsheets at:
http://www.uwex.edu/ces/crops/uwforage/CornSilagePricingDecisionAidV2%201.xls
http://agebb.missouri.edu/dairy/feed/Silagevalue.xls