Forages can be harvested as hay, greenfeed, or silage. The difference is the amount of moisture in the feed. When buying or selling forage, determining an equivalent value or price is based on the amount of dry matter contained in the forage.

If buying or selling forage, most times the standard price is referenced to dry hay. If the agreed price of hay is $180 per ton at 16% moisture (84% dry matter), what is the comparable price for silage at 65% moisture (35% dry matter)?

Comparable values are calculated on a dry matter basis. First step is to calculate the value of the standard or reference feed (dry hay) on a dry basis:

One ton or 2000 pounds x 84% dry matter = 1680 pounds of hay dry matter per ton.

$180 per ton divided by 1680 pounds = 10.71 cents a pound (dry basis)

This establishes the base value for the hay and is used to calculate an equivalent value for the silage.

To establish silage price, it is necessary to first calculate the number of pounds of dry matter per ton of silage.

2000 pounds x 35% dry matter = 700 pounds of dry matter per ton.

Multiply the pounds of dry matter per ton of silage by the value of the hay on a dry basis to obtain an equivalent price.

700 pounds x 10.71 cents a pound = $75.07 per ton of silage at 65% moisture.

If the silage is drier at 60% moisture, increasing the value by 5% to compensate the moisture provides a price of $75.07 x $1.05 = $78.82 per ton. Unfortunately, this is not the proper calculation.

It is necessary to calculate the pounds of dry matter per ton and then, multiply by the value of hay on a dry basis. In this case, 10.71 cents per pound.

2000 pounds x 40% dry matter = 800 pounds of dry matter per ton

800 pounds x 10.71 cents a pound = $ 85.68 per ton.

Using the incorrect method to adjust for moisture content leaves $6.86 on the table which is either good or bad depending on whether you are the buyer or seller.

For additional information on calculating the pricing of different feeds, contact Barry at 403-741-6032 or __bjyaremcio@gmail.com__

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