Corn Silage Pricing App
UW-Madison Extension has developed a Smartphone app to provide a simple way to help estimate the market value of corn silage. The app includes links to current corn and hay market prices and allows buyers and sellers to enter their own yield estimates and harvest costs. The difference in values of soil nutrients removed when harvesting silage versus corn for grain is also calculated helping sellers fine-tune their standing value per acre.
Excellently cracked corn can boost milk production by up to two pounds (about a quart) per cow per day.
If 70 percent of the cracked corn fits through a hole the width of a standard drinking straw, then the corn receives an excellent score—fit for a dairy cow’s feast. Unfortunately for many farmers, the lab results yield merely adequate, or even poor, scores, meaning they must feed their cows much more grain every day to meet nutritional requirements.
The UW Madison Extension developed app “SilageSnap” is a convenient and accurate in-the-field alternative to after-the-fact processing scores. To use the app, farmers merely spread out a small sample of corn, set down a coin to calibrate for pixel size and snap a photo with their phones. Image-processing algorithms then calculate kernel-processing scores right there in the field, instead of weeks after the harvest at an external lab.
Based on kernel processing scores and summary statistics from the app farmers can fine-tune their machinery on the spot — rather than develop contingency plans after the harvest is well over. Initial results suggest that the scores returned from the app align very closely with official results from commercial corn silage processing score evaluations.