Corn stover, what is it worth?

Farm Forum

Today’s topic is valuing corn stover removed from the field. This is a pertinent question as the values of feedstuffs and fertilizer have increased, as well as feed alternatives. Maybe a livestock producer can sell some of his alfalfa hay, and utilize corn stover, or a crop producer can add value to his crop, or would like to remove some excessive residue? I have used multiple credible sources in the following example.

Our example story problem is…

Nutrient content and value of corn stover

Table 1 can be used to estimate the fertilizer value on a 100% dry matter basis. Well dried standing corn stover will often range between 85 to 90% dry matter.

Very little nutrients leave the field when cattle are grazed on the stover. Cattle will only consume 20 – 25% of the stover available and 98%+ of the NPK consumed will be excreted back onto the field.. Please visit with your local agronomist for more explanation of N, K values. For this example let’s just use the P value.


140 bu/acre * 56 lb./bu. = 7840 lbs. grain @ 15.5%moisture = 6625 lbs. dry matter grain

6625 lbs. dry matter grain = 6625 lbs. dry matter stover

6625 lbs/2000 lbs./ton = 3.31 tons dry matter stover

Amount of stover collected vs. Harvest method/acre

· Shredding + Rake (80% harvest): 3.31 * 0.8 = 2.65 tons harvested

· Rake only (65% harvest): 3.31 * 0.65 = 2.15 tons harvested

Keep in mind this is all on DM basis, so in a 15% moisture 1200# bale you have only 1020# DM.

(1020/2000=.51) *7#P/ton DM *.51 = 3.57# of P removed/bale * $.57= $2.03/bale.

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