FOLEY, Minn. — Agreeing on a price for corn silage can be difficult — given the lack of knowledge on what might be a going price for the feed source. To get a fair price requires knowledge of both the expenses (such as the cost of fertilizer and field operations) and markets (grains, straw, mild and silage).

There are a few rules of thumb to use when pricing corn silage. One of the more common is that normal corn silage standing in the field might be worth six to eight times the price of corn. This is based on an estimate of six to eight bushels per ton of silage. However, this may not be the best option as data from Wisconsin showed anywhere between a 3.6 to 7.5 bushels of grain per ton of silage at 65 percent moisture. 

Moisture does make a difference when estimating yields. In field trials where corn was harvested at 65 percent moisture and yielded 125 bushels per acre, it resulted in 16.7 tons of silage which is 7.5 bushels of corn per ton of silage. In those same field trials, when corn was harvested at 70 percent moisture, yielded 19.5 tons of silage which is only 6.4 bushels of corn per acre. Environment may also play a role in the amount of grain in a silage sample. Testing samples for moisture and feed quality is one way to help decide what the silage is worth and can help eliminate some of the questions around quality.

Many options for pricing corn silage are easily found online and free to use. Penn State University, Iowa State University, Kansas State University and the University of Wisconsin all have their own versions of corn silage pricing calculators and can all be found using a simple internet search. Each one takes a slightly different approach to pricing corn silage, so make sure to experiment with them to decide which one best fits your needs and situation.

Remember: the person buying the crop is also thinking about yield, quality and price vs. other options. The price which suits the needs of both parties as best as it can is the end goal.

This article was submitted by Nathan Drewitz, University of Minnesota Extension. He can be reached at (320) 968-5077.