California dairy.
September 2, 2020

When Buying Corn Silage, Adjust for Moisture

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

If you are purchasing corn silage out of the field, you might want to adjust for moisture to ensure the transaction is fair for both you and the corn grower, suggests Jennifer Heguy, a farm advisor with the University of California Extension Service in Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties.

If you don’t, you could be short-changing either yourself or the grower. Just small changes in moisture can lead to fairly large differences on a per ton and per acre basis, she says.

“Traditionally, corn silage is purchased on a 70/30 basis, that is, 70% moisture and 30% dry matter,” she says.

So assume the selling price is $60/ton at 30% moisture. If the dry matter is just 2 points lower, 28%, the value of that corn silage is $56/ton because it has less dry matter. Conversely, if it has 32% dry matter, it is worth $64/ton because you are getting more dry matter. Either way,  it’s about a 7% value difference.

On a per acre basis, that adds up. And over several hundred acres of purchased corn silage, it can total up to significant dollars.  

“A note of advice: Have these discussions ahead of time [with your grower], so both parties agree to price corrections before trucks start delivering forage,” Heguy says.

For a related article on the forage quality of this year’s corn silage crop, click here.