Under the drought conditions we have faced this season, corn normally cut in July for corn silage is now being salvaged to be used for silage, even this late in the season.
Consider this; one ton of well-eared corn silage will contain about 7 ½ bushels of grain. If corn is $5 dollars per bushel, the grain alone is worth $35- 45 dollars per ton of silage. Now add the value of the stalks/leaves (stover). If you just value the ‘stover’ based on the nutrients removed that might have to be replaced with fertilizer, add another $10-15 per ton. This means corn silage could be worth between $50-60 dollars per ton. Figuring it this way, the old saying that “a ton of silage is worth ten times the price of a bushel of corn” is pretty spot on!
Drought-stressed corn can be a good source of high quality silage. Although it may be lower in grain content it will be higher in digestible fiber. Also, expect it to have lower starch and elevated sugars.
Things to look out for:
- Mold and fungi: Drought-stressed is easily susceptible to mold.
- Nitrate: Be sure to test the level of nitrates before you feed your livestock.
- Silo Gas: It is always a concern with corn silage, and the higher level of nitrate the more toxic it can become. Always leave the area if you notice a faint brown low hanging gas, or bleach like odor.
Are you setting aside acres simply for silage? Check out the information from the U of M Extension on Selecting Corn Hybrids for Profitable Silage.
Contact us today to learn about these options!