NDSU Extension tool helps determine standing corn crop value

Ellen Crawford
Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

DEVILS LAKE - The ongoing drought is forcing some North Dakota producers to harvest corn for silage.

In some cases, corn for silage is sold standing in the field, and producers need to know how to determine a fair price for the standing crop.

Some North Dakota producers may be harvesting corn for silage this year.

North Dakota State University Extension has a Corn Silage Decision Tool spreadsheet to help them. It’s available at https://www.ndsu.edu/agriculture/ag-hub/corn-silage-decision-tool. It includes features for adjusting the corn silage price and estimating yield calculations.

More:Producers have help during drought

“The value of the standing corn crop depends upon several variables, including yield, price of substitute feed crops, and harvesting and hauling costs,” says Ron Haugen, NDSU Extension farm management specialist.

The buyer should discount the computed price by the estimated spoilage. With this information, the parties can negotiate the price.

More:Livestock water quality is important in drought conditions

Haugen also has this advice: “Producers should check with their crop insurance agent before chopping corn for silage. They can get an appraisal done to determine if the yield is above or below their crop insurance guarantee. They may or may not collect a crop insurance payment based on the appraisal.”

Failing to notify their insurance agent may result in forfeiture of any potential indemnity payment. If producers have a potential insurance claim, their insurance company likely will require them to leave a number of rows unharvested at specified intervals across the field to be used for final appraisal. 

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Zac Carlson, NDSU Extension beef cattle specialist, recommends that before harvesting drought-stressed corn for forage, producers should check the chemical labels of any herbicide and pesticides used on the crop for harvesting restrictions.

“Make sure to allow for the minimum harvest interval to be met before harvesting the corn,” he says.