What’s Winter Wheat For Grazing Worth?

$17.30 per animal unit month is a good rule of thumb. Compiled by staff

Published on: May 24, 2004

With drought gripping much of winter wheat country in the Dakotas, is it better to graze wheat now or wait to harvest the grain?

Matt Diersen, South Dakota State University (SDSU) extension farm management specialist, says to compare the income and costs of both options carefully.

He recommends using the price of $17.30 per animal unit month (AUM) for the value of grazing wheat now.

To compute the value of the crop at harvest, Diersen suggests using a $3.50 per bushel price. Calculate the value of the grain, subtract harvest costs and see whether it really pays to graze.

Be aware of any grazing restrictions in place due to the herbicide applied to the crop.

See SDSU Extension Extra 8140, "Forage Restrictions for Small Grain Herbicides," for detailed information.

Also, be sure to check with your crop insurance agent before haying or grazing winter wheat. The agent will need to appraise before you can graze it without penalty.

-- Source: SDSU AgBio Communications.