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Serving: WI
field of hay
FINDING VALUE: Pricing standing hay is a common question this time of year.

What is standing hay worth?

Value varies widely; here’s an example of how to price standing hay.

One of the challenges in coming up with a value for standing hay is the lack of daily price information like what is available for grain crops. Another challenge is accounting for the difference in quality and yield. Nonetheless, pricing standing hay is a common question this time of year, so here’s one example when buying or selling standing hay in 2019.

Assume a 4-ton dry matter (DM) yield per acre for the entire year of dairy-quality alfalfa hay ranging from $200 to $250 per ton baled (11 cents to 14 cents per pound DM), with half the value going to the landowner for input costs (land, taxes, seed, lime and fertilizer), and half the value credited to the buyer for harvesting, field loss and weather risk. Standing value for this alfalfa field for the entire season could range from $400 to $700 to acre. 

Using a three-cut (40%, 30%, 30%) or four-cut (35%, 25%, 20%, 20%) harvest schedule, the following price range (rounded to the nearest $5) may offer a starting point for buyers and sellers negotiating the purchase or sale of good-quality standing alfalfa in 2019:

3 cuts
$175 to $280 per acre
2nd: $130 to $210 per acre
3rd: $130 to $210 per acre

4 cuts    
$155 to $245 per acre
2nd: $110 to $175 per acre
3rd: $90 to $140 per acre  
4th: $90 to $140 per acre

To help buyers and sellers better evaluate their own purchase or sale of standing hay, Greg Blonde, Extension agriculture agent in Waupaca County, Wis., suggests his free mobile app with easy access to current baled hay market information, and calculates standing value per acre for each cutting based on the farmer’s yield and harvest costs. The app is free and can be downloaded on both Android and Apple mobile devices through Google Play or the Apple Store (search for “hay pricing”). A short online YouTube step-by-step tutorial video for running the mobile app is available.

For more information, email

Source: University of Wisconsin-Extension, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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