Economic potential of preserving high-moisture hay

C. A. Rotz, D. R. Buckmaster, L. R. Borton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The economic value of preserving high-moisture hay (20-28% moisture, w.b.) was determined using a simulation model of alfalfa growth, harvest, storage, and utilization (DAFOSYM). Hay treatments of three levels of effectiveness (normal, excellent, and ideal) were evaluated for three strategies of use (limited, moderate, and heavy) on three representative farms (commercial hay, 50-cow dairy with a three-cutting hay system, and 100-cow dairy with a four-cutting hay and silage system). Simulation for 26 years of central Michigan weather gave treatment effects on average field-curing time, quantity and quality of hay produced, net returns, and breakeven treatment costs for treating small rectangular bales. A treatment of normal effectiveness (similar to propionic acid) must cost less than $8/t DM ($7.26/ton DM) to be profitable with limited use on any of the farms or less than $4/t DM ($3.63/ton DM) with moderate or heavy use. As the effectiveness of preservation increases, the breakeven cost increases to a maximum of $21/t DM ($19.07/ton DM) for an ideal treatment defined as eliminating all storage loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-323
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Engineering in Agriculture
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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