Wisconsin growers have until Aug. 25 to enter the annual PEPS program, a crop production contest that also gives growers information on the profitability, efficiency and conservation of their crop. Entry forms can be downloaded here.

Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin Extension corn agronomist, says the program provides growers with “an outstanding opportunity to gain valuable knowledge, technical insight and demonstrate your farming skills. It provides a unique method to compare the economics of your cropping systems to others.” The PEPS program also encourages the development of profitable new and innovative corn management practices that conserve resources and improve water quality, he adds.

A corn silage division was added a few years ago. “More and more acres are contracted by dairies for corn silage production. Splitting a field and determining economic differences between corn grain and silage production will help when negotiating corn silage contracts,” explains Mike Rankin, University of Wisconsin Extension crops and soils specialist.

In 2009, the cost per bushel in the PEPS program ranged from $2.01 to $2.85 for corn yield levels ranging from 142 to 276 bu/acre, Lauer says. The average yields in the cash corn and dairy/livestock corn divisions were 214 and 194 bu/acre with production costs of $531 and $428/acre. The average cost per bushel in these divisions was $2.51 and $2.19. Using PEPS production costs for an acre and the Wisconsin USDA state average of 153 bu/acre, the average cost per bushel was $3.47.

For corn silage, average costs were $734/acre and $81.95 per ton of dry matter ($28.68 at 65% moisture).

Contest and verification options are available to growers entering the program. In the contest option, the top participant of each district and division is recognized with a plaque and cash award at the state level. But farmers can compare the economics of their cropping system to other farmers without entering the public contest simply by choosing the verification option.

For previous PEPS reports, visit corn.agronomy.wisc.edu/PEPS. For additional information, contact Amy Cottom at 608-262-7702 or agcottom@wisc.edu.