Corn harvest season is getting started, with local farms in the midst of silage harvest season and gearing up to start grain corn harvest. Grain corn can be harvested, dried, and either sold or stored; or it can be harvested as High Moisture corn (HMC). HMC is the grain after being normally combined, but there is enough moisture in it that it ensiles well, preserving feed quality for livestock. Harvesting HMC is also more efficient and more environmentally friendly, as farms do not need to use propane or natural gas to dry the grain to storable moisture content.
HMC is a commodity which can allow local farms to gain economic advantage on both sides of the buying and selling transaction. The livestock farm buying HMC will be able to buy corn for a lower price than what they would pay for dry grain from the local elevator. The farm producing the grain saves the expense of drying the grain and combining at higher moistures almost always allows a higher yield to be harvested per acre, as there is less cob drop and combining losses.
The one difficulty farms encounter when buying or selling HMC from/to another farm is coming up with a fair price for both farms, and also getting accurate values if no scales are nearby. The Division of Extension from UW-Madison has resources that help farms find the right sales price for these situations, and can also assist with yield estimation, if necessary.
Farms can access HMC pricing information via the web or via a free, downloadable app. A link to the app can be found at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/dairy/pricing-wet-corn/ and is titled Pricing Wet Corn App. A full listing of equivalent per ton prices for corn ranging in value from $4.00 to $5.40 per dry bushel and 16% to 40% kernel moisture can be found on Marinette County’s Extension webpage. This Excel spreadsheet, “HMC Pricing 2021”, is housed under the Crops and Soils Resources Tab of the Agriculture Section, at https://marinette.extension.wisc.edu/
At the same web site, farms can access the same type of information regarding pricing of corn silage for farm to farm sales. The corn silage pricing file is a viewable/printable .pdf based on similar corn price ranges and corn silage moisture ranges of 55 to 74% whole plant moisture.
These resources help price corn that can be weighed, as it gives a per ton price. If the farms involved in the transaction do not have access to scales, a per acre pricing estimate may need to be found. Farms can ask for assistance from Scott Reuss, Marinette & Oconto County Agriculture Agent, when they are in this situation, as conducting in-field yield estimation is a bit tricky. He can be reached at 715-732-7510, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org Anyone can contact Reuss via these methods for any agricultural or horticultural questions they may have.