How to Determine the Value of Corn Silage

Have you ever tried to find official reports on the price of corn silage? Well, you’ll be disappointed. As it turns out, there isn’t much out there in terms of official information. So, when it comes to pricing corn silage, it becomes a negotiation between the buyer and the seller. The fair price is ultimately what both parties agree upon. However, there are several factors to consider when determining this price.

Factors to Consider

The feed value of the silage is of great interest to the buyer, while the seller is concerned with replacing the potential corn grain value. You can determine the feed value by looking at the cost of alternative feeds or by conducting a feed analysis. But that’s not all! There are other important factors to consider, such as moisture and maturity at harvest, additional nutrient removal during silage harvest, alternative forage prices, and potential harvest and storage losses.

Pricing Guidelines

As a general rule, you can use a factor of 8 times the corn price for standing corn and 10 times the corn price for harvested silage per ton. This is a good starting point for determining the price of typical silage. However, if you want to fine-tune your pricing, there are helpful tools available. You can use a spreadsheet or a silage price calculator to take all these considerations into account.

An Example

For instance, the Iowa State Ag Decision Maker website provides a useful spreadsheet for determining the minimum and maximum prices from the perspectives of both the buyer and the seller. Let’s say you make the following assumptions for harvesting and storage costs and additional fertilizer costs. If you estimate a corn grain yield of 180 bushels at $3.75 per bushel or a corn silage yield of 23 tons per acre at 35% dry matter, the average of the minimum and maximum prices is $30.75 per ton of silage. This is 8.2 times the corn price for unharvested silage or $36.75 per ton of silage, which is 9.8 times the corn price for harvested silage.

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Another Scenario

To illustrate further, let’s consider a different set of assumptions. If you estimate a lower corn yield of 140 bushels at a price of $3.50 per bushel or a lower corn silage yield of 18 tons per acre at 35% dry matter, the average of the minimum and maximum prices is $28 per ton of silage. This is 8 times the price of corn for unharvested silage or $35 per ton of silage, which is 10 times the price of corn for harvested silage.

Determining the value of corn silage requires careful consideration of various factors, and negotiations between buyers and sellers play a crucial role. So, the next time you find yourself in the market for corn silage, keep in mind the factors discussed in this article to determine a fair and reasonable price.

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