Genetic Technologies Limited

Maize for Silage

Growing and Harvest Cost Guide

The costs to grow, harvest and store maize silage are estimates only based on a sample of contractor rates, typical industry charges and product costs. All costs exclude GST and are indicative as of 22 August 2023. Given the volatility of farm input prices, we encourage you to complete your own budget prior to the start of the growing season. 

To use this cost guide, enter your own growing and harvesting costs in the “My costs” column. For help and notes on this table refer to the assumptions below.

Updated 2023-24 Average Estimated Cost
(22nd August - exclusive of GST)
    Average estimated costs ($/ha) My costs ($/ha)
Growing costs Typical fertility High fertility My farm ($/ha)
Pre Planting Cost of leased land1 ? ?
Soil test, other 10 10
Spraying out pasture including glyphosate 100 100
Lime including cartage and application2 140 0
Base fertiliser cost including application2 495 0
Cultivation: to planting specifications3 440 440
Planting Pioneer® brand P9978 maize seed @ 1.30# or 1.35## bags/ha 630 655
FAR maize seed levy ($8.00/80,000 kernels @ 1.30# or 1.35## bags/ha) 10 10
LumiGEN™ System L-400 seed treatment @ 1.30# or 1.35## bags/ha 160 170
Starter fertiliser cost including application2 275 0
Planting 210 210
Post planting Pre emergence weed control (herbicide + application) 140 140
Post emergence weed control (herbicide + application) 145 145
Sidedress nitrogen cost including application2 315 0
Interest on maize expenditure (7 months @ 8%) 145 90
Total growing cost $3,215 $1,970
Down arrow
Harvest costs
Harvesting Harvesting and stacking 1365 1365
Covering 260 260
Pioneer® brand 11C33RR maize specific inoculant 345 345
Total harvest cost $1,970 $1,970

Total growing and harvest costs

$5,185 $3,940
Expected yield and cost per unit
Maize silage yield (tDM) in the stack
Maize silage cost per kgDM in the stack (c/kgDM)
Maize silage cost per MJME (c/MJME)

*Rounded to the nearest five dollars
#Typical fertility
##High fertility

Maize silage drymatter cost

Research has shown that maize can be grown in high fertility dairy farm paddocks, including those with a history of effluent application, without the need for additional fertiliser.

The table below gives indicative drymatter costings for both high and typical maize growing environments. High fertility environments include dairy paddocks coming out of long-term pasture, as well as paddocks with a history of effluent application. Typical fertility environments include run-out pasture paddocks and repeat cropping blocks. Very low fertility paddocks including repeat cropping blocks are likely to require additional fertiliser nutrinets depending on a number of factors including maize crop yield and winter management system. Always soil test maize paddocks and apply nutrients according to the results.

Drymatter yield per hectare and cost per kg drymatter
and per megajoule of metabolisable energy

  Maize silage drymatter costs
  Low fertility paddock High fertility paddock
tDM/ha Maize silage cost per kgDM
in the stack (c/kgDM)
Maize silage cost
per MJME (c/MJME)
Maize silage cost per
kgDM in the stack (c/kgDM)
Maize silage cost per
Maize silage yield (tDM) in the stack 16 34.6 3.21 - -
18 30.8 2.85 21.9 2.03
20 27.7 2.56 19.7 1.82
22 25.2 2.33 17.9 1.66
24 23.1 2.14 16.4 1.52
26 21.3 1.97 15.2 1.40
28 19.8 1.83 14.1 1.30
30 - - 13.1 1.22


  1. Average land rentals have not been included because of large regional variations. Provision to consider land rental has been included in the My Cost column.
  2. Fertiliser and lime application rates vary according to soil pH and nutrient status and crop yield targets. Always soil test maize paddocks and seek professional advice to develop a nutrient application plan.
  3. Cultivation costs will vary depending on soil types, land class and cropping history.
  4. Cost for Pioneer® brand 11C33RR are based on inoculating a 22 tDM/ha crop.
  5. Maize silage cost per MJME assumes a maize silage energy content of 10.8 MJME/kgDM.
  6. Farmers growing maize silage for sale are usually responsible for costs up to and including side dressing nitrogen application.
  7. The amount of pasture lost during the maize growing season will vary between paddocks, farms and districts. The value of pasture lost during the maize growing season has not been considered in the calculation of the maize silage drymatter cost.
  8. The cost and benefits of regrassing have not been included.


The information in this calculator is general in nature and is not intended to be a representation of actual costs. We do no accept any responsibility or liability (whether as a result of negligence or otherwise) for any loss of any kind that may arise from actions based on the contents of this calculator or otherwise in connection with the use of this calculator.