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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Rotz, Clarence - Al
item Harrison, J
item Johnson, L

Submitted to: Hoard's Dairyman
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2001
Publication Date: 8/10/2001
Citation: Rotz, C.A., Harrison, J.H., Johnson, L.M. 2001. Is processing your corn silage profitable?. Hoard's Dairyman. 8:496

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Dairy producers are looking to adopt new and better methods of making their cows, and their farms, more economically efficient. Recently, many farmers have considered the processing of corn silage as a possible aid. Through processing, the silage can be made more digestible and, as a result, feed intake and milk production can be increased. Although there are numerous success stories of processing corn silage, one must consider many variable such as the effects of processing on machine performance, fuel, and labor requirements; ensiling; animal performance; and farm profit for a complete assessment. A whole farm simulation was used to determine the benefits and drawbacks of adopting corn silage processing technology. An economic analysis compared all production costs to income from milk, feed, and animal sales to predict farm profit. Processing corn silage increased milk production up to 925 lb/cow or 4.1%. The net return, when the harvester was owned and operated by the farmer, increased by about $50/cow. Considering the initial investment in the processing equipment, this return indicates that the investment would pay back in less than two years. Similarly, when a custom hired operation was used instead of an owned harvester, the use of processing increased the annual net return for the farm by $47/cow. As farmers search for more efficient ways to run their farms, processing corn silage may evolve as a standard operating procedure.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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