July 11, 2012
It is easy to see that many portions of the Illinois corn crop will be hurt badly from the drought. A prolonged and intensifying drought coupled with extremely high temperatures the last two weeks has punished this corn crop. The "good" corn will certainly be low in yield and some corn has failed to pollinate or even put on an ear. These different circumstances have farmers scrambling for options to salvage a ruined crop.
There are many different scenarios that a corn farmer can play out. Although it seems what little corn is left in fields will be worth record high prices, the most value may be in harvesting that corn for corn silage. Corn silage makes excellent cattle feed. This year we are already seeing a hay shortage due to the expansive drought and commodity prices have headed towards the sky.
Feed availability and feed costs are certainly going to be a challenge for producers this summer, fall, and winter. Drought stressed corn made into corn silage may be the answer to solving low feed inventory and high hay/commodity costs.
The question I am getting asked more and more by the hour is - "how to price drought stressed corn for corn silage?" and "How do I price my neighbor's corn field?" aka pricing standing corn. The following publication is the best I have seen so far in answering those questions.
I would take this opportunity to remind you that if you are harvesting drought stressed corn, be aware of higher nitrate levels. Refer to "Drought ravished forages a potential danger to livestock." Many meetings are being set up around the state to discuss drought stressed corn and drought management strategies. Contact your local extension specialist for dates and locations.