Producer Question from 2013
Q. How should corn silage be priced relative to corn? (Sept 3, 2013)
A. Pricing corn silage can be a challenging process. UNL Extension Feedlot Specialist Dr. Galen Erickson recently recorded two webinars discussing how corn silage can be priced. To view each webinar, please go to the webinar page.
- Using Elevated Levels of Silage in Finishing Diets and Addressing Shrink
- Silage Pricing and Nutrition - Economics of Use in Forage Fed Cattle
In these webinars Dr. Erickson identifies three points in time where silage can be valued.
- The first point in time is standing in the field.
- The second is packed in the bunker.
- The third is delivered to the cattle in the bunk.
UNL research has shown that corn silage priced in the field with standing corn should be at 7.65 X the price per bushel of corn per ton of corn silage at 60-65% moisture. This value is consistent regardless of corn price.
At $3.00 corn, corn silage packed in the bunker should be close to 11 X the price per bushel of corn.
At $6.00 corn, corn silage packed in the bunker should be close to 9.3 X the price per bushel of corn.
The value of corn silage delivered to cattle is going to hinge on how much dry matter shrink loss occurred from the time the corn silage was packed until it was delivered to the cattle in the bunk.
Dr. Keith Bolsen, Professor Emeritus from Kansas State University recently recorded a webinar Keys for Harvesting and Storing Quality Silage that highlights the importance of properly packing and sealing corn silage to reduce shrink loss. The amount of dry matter loss due to shrink can dramatically change the cost of corn silage delivered to cattle.
If dry matter shrink loss is 10% from the time it goes in the bunker till it is delivered to the cattle then, when corn is in the $3.00/bushel range, the value of silage delivered in the bunk should be 12.2 X bushel corn price. If the shrink loss in the bunker is at 20%, than the value should be 13.75 x bushel corn price.
With the price of corn today relative to forage values, corn silage may be an attractive option this year.
Aaron Berger, Extension Educator
Panhandle Research & Extension Center
University of Nebraska