Adjusting Forage Prices - Frequently Asked Questions

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 What moisture level are forages generally marketed at for farm use?
Silage is usually priced at 65% moisture (35% dry matter) and hay or greenfeed are generally prices at 15% moisture (85% dry matter).

When adjusting the price of forages do you calculate price using the moisture content or the dry matter content?
All forage pricing should be calculated by using the dry matter content of the forage.

If the reference price of silage is $30/ton at 65% moisture and the moisture content of the silage I want to buy is 55% moisture what would I pay for it?
First calculate the dry matter content of both silages (dry matter content = 100 – the moisture content). The 65% moisture silage is 35% dry matter and the 55% moisture silage is 45% dry matter

$30/ton at 65% moisture is the same as $30/ton at 35% dry matter. (1 ton = 2000 lbs).
To adjust the price to 55% moisture or 45% dry matter do the following calculation:
$30 = 35% dry matter
Y = 45% dry matter

Where Y is the adjusted price ($/ton).
Cross multiply to get:
Y x 35 = 30 x 45
35 Y = 1350
Y = 1350 / 35
Y = $38.57/ton

Therefore, $30.00/ton silage at 65 % moisture is worth $38.57/ton at 55% moisture. The adjusted price is higher than the reference price since it contains more dry matter. If the silage you purchase has a higher moisture content, you would pay less than the reference price. Remember you want to pay for the dry matter not for the water, so adjust prices based on the dry matter content.

If a producer was selling hay at 2.5 / lb and the moisture content is 18% what would the price be at 15% moisture?
As with pricing silage, convert the moisture content to dry matter content.
2.5 = 82% dry matter
Y = 85% dry matter

Where Y is the adjusted price (/lb)
Cross multiply to get:
82 Y = 2.5 x 85
Y = 212.5 / 82
Y = 2.59 /lb

For more information on pricing hay based on differing nutrient contents refer to:
Pricing Hay
Adjusting Prices between Hay and Bale Silage
Forage Value Calculator

Information on pricing standing hay:
Value of Standing Hay
Price Standing Hay - Ontario

Prepared by Juanita Kopp, Ag-Info Centre, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Dean Dyck.
This document is maintained by Marie Glover.
This information published to the web on July 23, 2003.
Last Reviewed/Revised on April 10, 2018.