Grain yield is another consideration. A larger grain harvest could portend a higher silage price.
"As a general rule of thumb, you can price silage by multiplying the price of corn per bushel by a factor of somewhere between eight and 10," Nennich says.
The Corn Silage Crop Calculator is a Microsoft Excel-based program that comes in two parts. One part calculates silage price based on silage yield from the field, while the other calculates silage price based on corn grain price. Either part can be used to arrive at a price for corn silage.
In both spreadsheets the farmer will enter data such as corn price per bushel, silage yield per acre or estimated grain yield, percent of corn silage dry matter, harvest/hauling/storage cost and the estimated amount of shrinkage during storage. Results appear as cost of corn silage value per ton and the final cost of silage to producer.
"There are default values built into the calculator, or a silage producer can adjust the values according to what they save in harvesting, drying and storage costs," Nennich says. "The dairy producer can make adjustments on what their cost would be to haul and harvest the corn silage themselves, so that they can see how that affects the final silage price at feeding."
Nennich hopes silage producers and their dairy producer customers do the calculations together. "It can help them arrive at a mutual agreement for corn silage," she says.
Determining a Value for Corn Silage is co-authored by Kern Hendrix, a retired Purdue Extension cattle specialist. The publication, AS-611-W, is free and available here.
Source: Purdue University Extension