Just as the stocker value of gain increases with higher grain costs, so does the value of silage.

“…one ton of well-eared corn silage will contain about 7.5 bu. of corn grain. If corn is $5/bu., the grain alone is worth $35-$40/ton of silage. And that doesn’t give any value to the stover. If you just value the stover based on the nutrients removed that may need to be replaced with fertilizer, that adds another $10-$15/ton,” says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska Extension forage specialist, in one of his recent Hay and Forage Minutes.

“This means corn silage should be worth somewhere between $50 and $60/ton. I find it interesting that even with the huge change we’ve had in grain prices and input costs, the old rule-of-thumb that says a ton of corn silage is worth 10 times the price of a bushel of corn still is pretty accurate," Anderson says.

“…In these examples, the silage is assumed to be 65% moisture. That means there are 700 lbs. of nutrients and 1,300 lbs. of water in each ton. If the silage is drier, say only 50% moisture, the silage is worth more. At 50% moisture there are 1,000 lbs. of nutrients in a ton of silage, making the silage worth $71-$85/ton. Wet silage, around 80% moisture, would only contain 400 lbs. of nutrients and be worth just $29-$35/ton.”

For the week ending Oct. 3, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service:

Corn – 93% is at or beyond the mature stage, 39% ahead of last year and 14% ahead of the average pace. Maturity was nearly complete across much of the Corn Belt, where progress was well ahead of both last year and the average pace. 37% of the crop is in the bin, which is 28% or 36 days ahead of last year; 16% ahead of average. Harvest was most advanced and nearly complete in Tennessee, 62% ahead of last year and 21% ahead of the average. In the Corn Belt, warm, dry conditions continued to promote a rapid harvest pace, with progress in Illinois and Indiana 59% or more ahead of last year and 43% or more ahead of normal. 66% is in Good to Excellent condition, 4% less than a year ago.

Soybeans – Leaves were dropping on 88% of the crop, 11% ahead of last year and 3% more than the five-year average. Double-digit progress was evident throughout much of the major soybean-producing areas of the country as leaf drop neared completion across much of the Corn Belt, lower Delta and Ohio Valley. Harvest is 37% complete, 23% ahead of last year and 9% more than average. Producers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, the five largest soybean-producing states, harvested 22% or more of their crop during the week. 64% is rated in Good or Excellent condition, 3% less than last year.

Winter wheat – 53% is planted, the same as last year and 1% behind the five-year average. 22% has emerged, 4% behind last year and 3% behind the five-year average. Emergence was most advanced in Washington, where warm temperatures and adequate soil-moisture levels have provided ideal germination conditions during the past several weeks.

Sorghum – 77% is at or beyond the mature stage, 25% ahead of last year and 13% ahead of the five-year average. Warm temps continued to promote a rapid maturity pace throughout much of the major sorghum-producing areas of the country. 39% has been harvested, 9% ahead of last year and 1% ahead of the five-year average. In Texas, harvest was just beginning in the Northern High Plains while producers in the Coastal Bend were waiting for their fields to dry out before continuing to harvest their crop. 60% is in Good to Excellent condition, 11% more than the same time last year.

Barley – 94% is harvested, which is 5% behind last year and 5% behind the five-year average. Improved weather conditions and six days suitable for fieldwork allowed producers in Montana time to harvest 8% of their crop, but overall progress remained 15% behind last year and 17% behind the average.

Pasture – 44% of the nation’s pasture and range is rated as Good or Excellent, 4% less than last year. 24% is rated Poor or Very Poor, 2% more than a year ago.