Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Corn calculator - trying to figure out my corn planting this year

Try this link to get to a corn calculator.  It's one way that a farmer can get a feel for whether they will make a profit given the commodity price of corn and their expected  yield.  gives you a feel for what a lot of farmers are looking at this time of year, trying to figure out what they're going to plant, and how much, given expected falling corn prices this  year.

Why does it matter for me?   My pigs do eat a fair bit of corn, in the form of the standard pig ration that we feed free-choice.  My current feed buy is 10 tons every 6 weeks, for an average of about 1.5 tons consumed per week.  The cost of the feed is $380/ton, and I expect that to go down this year becuase of lower corn prices.  two-three years ago that same feed was $540/ton.

Good corn ground in the USA produces 195 bushels of corn per acre; average yields appear to be in the 120-130bushel/acre range.  (A bushel of shelled corn is 56lbs, so good corn ground will produce 5.5 tons of corn per acre, and average somewhere around  3.5 tons per acre)

So for my field and my lack of corn-expertise, and to account for any mistakes that I might make, I'm going to say that if I planted corn I'd get 90 bushes/acre, or 2.5 tons/acre.

I'm consuming 1.5 tons of feed a week, which works out to 78 tons a year, and about 75% of that feed is corn.  So I'm consuming about 59 tons of corn per year, in the form of feed.

so if I planted a little over 20 acres of corn, and somehow managed to harvest it, I'd have all the corn I needed to feed all the pigs for the year.   To make it into a complete feed I'd have to add some protein, but this is an interesting thought.

78 tons at 380 a ton is $29,640 feed cost.   75% of that is $22,230 - so if I can plant, maintain and harvest 20 acres of corn for $22k, I'll break even.  If I can do it for less I might save some money.  

But the math changes if the feed prices do indeed drop, as I expect them to.  I like the idea of being vertically oriented; growing most of my own feed regardless of market conditions.  But I don't like the idea of spending more than I have to.


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