There are a number of factors to consider in assessing how to price corn standing in the field for silage.

One is the potential returns from harvesting for grain and the cost of combining, drying and storage. With current commodity prices, these returns are high. 

A second is the cost of the nutrients removed in the silage. With the price of P and K, these can be high.

Another factor is the potential grain and silage yields. With our variable crop this year, these can vary as well, since some corn has not eared well and others have a low silage yield, but a high grain yield. 

Another factor is the going price for cured silage since a grain crop without ears will have some silage value even if it doesn’t have much potential for grain.  

To address these issues our Dairy and Crops team members have developed an excel spreadsheet which allows users to enter their own numbers to estimate silage pricing from the perspective of either using the crop for grain or comparing it to the value of cured corn silage coming out of the silo. 

The program will then calculate the price per ton of unfermented, chopped corn silage needed to equal the shelled corn net returns and the price per ton of unfermented corn needed to equal corn silage price delivered from the silo. 

Prices will be high this year, but can vary depending on the yield estimates and other factors. It pays to be as accurate as possible on making estimated grain yield estimates.

 Remember that often hand yield checks on grain yield can overestimate field scale yields unless you do a good job of sampling the field accurately.

The spreadsheet tool can be found at the following website extension.psu.edu/animals/dairy/business-management/spreadsheet-to-price-standing-corn-for-silage.