Pricing High Moisture Shell Corn

Title: Pricing High Moisture Shell Corn

Author: Greg Blonde, UW-Extension Agriculture Agent

Pricing High Moisture Shell Corn

Waupaca, Wis. – With corn silage harvest finished on most farms, dairy and livestock producers now turn their attention to buying, selling and harvesting high moisture shell corn (HMSC). High moisture corn is harvested before the kernel is finished drying in the field, then processed with a roller or hammer mill and treated before being put into a bunker, bag or upright silo.

Properly stored HMSC is an excellent source of energy for dairy and livestock animals without having the additional cost of mechanical drying and handling as dry grain. That’s why HMSC is such an important and unique crop in Wisconsin.  In addition, during years with better yield potential and/or higher disease pressure (2018?), the risk for lodging is greater and harvesting corn earlier as HMSC can help avoid or minimize that problem.  Lower risk, along with narrow or negative profit margins for corn, is why corn growers may be more interested selling corn directly from their field as HMSC this Fall.

To help evaluate the opportunity for buying or selling HMSC, Greg Blonde, Waupaca County UW-Extension Agent, has an app both farmers and other professionals can use to quickly estimate the value of HMSC based on kernel moisture and current local bid price for dry shell corn.

The HMSC app is free and available on all Android phones and tablets at the Google Play store by searching for “HMSC”, or go directly to: 

A link to local elevator dry corn bid prices is included with the app. Just enter your zip code to get bid prices for your area.  The equivalent wet price ($/bushel and $/ton) is then calculated and displayed for potential buyers as their “ceiling” for the HMSC (less harvest cost when the buyer is responsible for harvesting).  Estimated drying costs can also be added to help corn growers determine their “floor” price.  The app also has a “share button” allowing users to text or Email results immediately.  According to Blonde, “when you’re in the field or on the go, this app is a great tool to have on your phone or tablet, especially in Wisconsin where high moisture shell corn is such an important  ‘alternative crop’ for many dairy, livestock and cash grain farms ”.

Blonde added, “with current local elevator bid prices at $3.20/bushel for 15.5 percent dry shell corn, HMSC harvested at 24-32% kernel moisture is worth $2.56 to $2.86/bushel or $91 to $102/ton, a potential ‘ceiling price’ for buyers. On the other hand, if corn growers also consider their added drying cost, the equivalent value is $2.15 to $2.62/bushel or $77 to $93/ton (@ $1.50/gallon LP gas), a lower potential ‘floor price’, but also a hedge against additional weather and market risk waiting for standing corn to dry in the field.  Obviously, kernel moisture, bid prices and drying costs each vary by location, and that’s what makes the HMSC app such a helpful tool this time of year.”

According to Blonde, “since 2015, over seven hundred users continue to use this handy Android app which is still available by downloading for free (no cost) on the Google Play store”. For more information, email or call 715-258-6230.

University of Wisconsin, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin counties cooperating. UW-Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming including Title IX and ADA.