Economics of corn silage processing on North American dairy farms

C. A. Rotz, L. M. Johnson, J. H. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Whole farm impacts of using a corn silage processor on the forage harvester were assessed using long term simulations with DAFOSYM (The Dairy Forage System Model). Use of processing improved packing in the silo and increased the digestibility of the silage, which reduced supplemental feed requirements, and/or improved milk production. When processing was used on farms having 100 or 400 high producing Holstein cows with 40% of the forage requirement met by corn silage, the treatment provided about a 2% increase in milk production along with a small decrease in supplemental grain feeding. Increases in production costs were more than offset by the increase in milk sales providing about a $50/cow improvement in the annual net return or profit of the farm. Without an increase in milk production, the economic benefit dropped to $5/cow/year. If the amount of corn silage fed was increased to 75% of the total forage requirement, processing provided a 4% increase in milk production with an economic benefit near $100/cow/yem. The economic benefit of corn silage processing was moderately sensitive to the length-of-cut setting of the harvester, milk price, and processing's effect on forage digestibility and available energy. Changes in these assumptions varied farm net return by less than $20/cow/vew. The results were relatively insensitive to reasonable assumptions for equipment price and power requirement, packing density in the silo, and supplemental feed prices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-421
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Engineering in Agriculture
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Economics of corn silage processing on North American dairy farms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this