Cost of Baling Hay

Drovers published an article by Travis Meteer from the University of Illinois stating that every ton of hay contains approximately 40 pounds of N (nitrogen), 20 pounds of P (phosphorus) and 50 pounds of K (potassium). However, it is important to calculate N losses at about 75 percent, thus only about 10 pounds of N are returned to the soil. The values of P and K are accurate to what would be returned.

Fertilizer prices for Illinois published by USDA (May 12 report) are: N $0.40, P $0.34, K $0.29. Using current nutrient values, hay has a fertilizer value of $25.30 per dry ton. Assuming a 1,200-pound round bale is 15 percent moisture, the nutrient value per bale is $12.91.

If you are figuring what it costs to make hay on your farm, add mowing, raking and baling at $20.20 per bale (Machinery Cost Estimates, University of Illinois Extension, June 2015). As a result, a bale of hay sitting in the field costs $33.11.

Other costs would include removal of micronutrients, moving the bales from the field, some additional time and labor in handling the bales and the use of equipment to transport the hay. If yields are below average, nearly all costs increase. Hay storage can also be a substantial part of hay costs.

Source: (from American Sheep Industry Weekly July 22, 2016)

“From Service to Stewardship” New Farmer Training May 20-21, Remington, VA

The Livestock Conservancy is excited to announce an upcoming training event for all farmers who are interested in farming with Heritage breeds.  This workshop also has helpful information for beginning farmer Veterans.

From Service to Stewardship” will take place May 20-21, in Remington, VA.
Full details and online registration are located at:

–Unique on-farm training at 4 different farms–

Lakota Ranch is a model for organic and grass-based beef operation and home of the grass based bull test. (Red Devon cattle)

Old Gjerpen Farm uses mixed rotational grazing practices, careful selection and line-breeding to produce top quality breeding animals, meat, and fleeces. (Leicester Longwool sheep and Milking Devon cattle)

Hock-Newberry Farm is an organically-managed, multi-species, rotational-grazing farm. They will discuss secrets of multi-species grazing, lowering the costs of top quality inputs, using low-cost electric fencing to make the most of rented land, and direct marketing. (American Guinea Hog, Nubian goats)

Ayrshire Farm uses Certified Humane®, organic, sustainable farming methods. (Shire horses, Scottish Highland cattle, Ancient White Park cattle, Gloucestershire Old Spots hogs, and several breeds of free-range chickens, turkeys, and ducks)

2 Day Workshop Topics Include

  • Demonstrations and Networking
  • Poultry Processing, breeding, husbandry
  • Scything
  • Rotational Grazing and pasture management
  • Tractor Selections
  • Milking and Oxen
  • Fence building
  • Getting started

Questions or comments regarding this workshop may be directed to:
Alison Martin
Executive Director, Livestock Conservancy
(919) 542-5704 Ext. 105