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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


Pricing Standing Forage Crops in the Field

Hay Bale

How to value a standing hay or haylage crop for sale directly from the field prior to harvest can be challenging.  Assigning an appropriate value includes the buyer and seller first agreeing on the market value for the hay and then adjusting for harvest costs and other factors that contribute to the price of hay sold in the open market, some of which are challenging to quantify.

Two new factsheets and accompanying Excel worksheets tools are available to help you arrive at a fair price. These resources consider just a single crop of forage that is ready to harvest as hay or haylage.

The grower’s base price equals the price they could receive for the crop from the hay market less harvesting/storage/marketing costs.  Hopefully, this covers production costs and generates a profit.  During price negotiations, it must be recognized that harvest risk is being shifted from the grower to the buyer, which should be applied as a further discount against the price paid by the buyer.

Determining the market price of the harvested forage type that is growing in the field is perhaps the hardest part of the process. The adjustments to that price are a little more straightforward.

For full details, click on the following links to learn how to calculate the value of forages in the field, considering the seller and buyer perspectives:

  1. Pricing perennial cool-season hay and annual warm-season grasses standing in the field –
  2. Worksheet tool to calculate the maximum price the buyer should pay for standing perennial cool-season hay and annual warm-season grasses in the field–
  3. Pricing oat or spring triticale haylage standing in the field -
  4. Worksheet tool to calculate price of oat or spring triticale haylage standing in the field -

These are also available at, click on “Forage Management”, then “Forage Economics”.

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.