Corn silage prices depend on the price of grain, but there can be a huge variation in silage prices. As a result there are a wide variety of strategies out there to price corn silage.
The price of corn silage is directly affected by the price of corn, says Tamilee Nennich, a Purdue Extension dairy cattle nutrition specialist. She is one of the authors of a new publication that helps dairy producers and corn silage growers determine those prices. "Determining a Value for Corn Silage" also contains an online Corn Silage Crop Calculator.
Corn silage, a forage consisting of corn grain and cornstalks harvested when the corn plant is still partially green, makes up about 30% of the dry matter in an average dairy cow's diet. The forage is a good source of fiber and energy for lactating cows.
The $40-$50 per ton that dairy farmers typically pay corn growers for silage often turns into $50-$80 per ton once the dairy producer harvests and transports the forage, and then places it in a silo for fermentation and storage, Nennich says. The silage usually remains in storage for months until it is ready to be fed to cows.
There are many issues dairy producers and corn silage growers should consider when pricing silage. Buyers and sellers will come at it from different perspectives, she says. One such issue is moisture content.
"Corn silage should contain 65-68% moisture, but the amount of actual feed dry matter varies and should be taken into account," she says. "Determining the silage dry matter is necessary for arriving at the actual amount of feed that is harvested from a field."