Pricing Rain-Damaged Hay (What is it worth?)
Rain-Damaged Hay: Part 2
Whether you are selling, purchasing or feeding rain-damaged hay it is important to know what you are dealing with. The best and most appropriate way to accomplish this is to compare price per pound of nutrient, not price per ton of feed. This is when an accurate forage/hay sample and analysis will earn/save you valuable dollars.
Feeds should not be compared by cost per ton, as this is very misleading. When nutrient shopping, you are normally interested in protein and/or energy. So when you are comparing feeds for specific nutrients, the following guidelines assist in determining the best buy. Don’t get caught paying high prices for ingredients used as fillers.
First, determine the dry matter content of the feeds to be compared. Do this by multiplying 2,000 pounds by the percent of dry matter contained in the feed as determined by laboratory analysis. This will give you the total pounds of dry matter in one ton of feed. For example, if a hay sample is 87 percent dry matter, multiply 2000 pounds of as fed hay by 87 percent (0.87) dry matter content which results in 1740 pounds of actual dry matter.
Next, determine the total pounds of a nutrient in those 1740 pounds of dry matter. Do this by multiplying 1,740 pounds by the percent of the nutrient contained in that feed. For example, if the hay is analyzed at 19.55 percent crude protein on a dry matter basis, multiply 1,740 pounds of dry matter x .1955 (19.55% crude protein) = 340 pounds of crude protein. This leaves 1,660 pounds of water, other nutrients and filler contained in one ton of as-fed feed (2,000 pounds — 340 pounds of crude protein = 1,660 pounds).
Finally, determine cost per pound of actual protein. Do this by dividing the ton price of as-fed feed (most feeds are priced as-fed and by the ton) by the pounds of actual protein contained in that ton of as-fed feed ($100/ton ÷ 340 pounds of crude protein = 29.4¢/lb).
In the example above, $100/ton as fed hay with a protein content of 19.55 percent (dry matter basis) has a price comparison shopping value of 29.4¢ per pound of crude protein.
Factors other than price should also be considered when shopping for feed ingredients. They include but are not limited to:
- Convenience/feed ability—feeding blocks or tubs vs. hay or pellets
- Transportation cost of getting feed to the ranch and storage facilities at the ranch (it will probably cost the same to transport a load of good hay as it will a load of junk hay)
- Cost of feeding the product
- Availability of the product
- Consumption amount required to balance the ration
- Other nutrients required to balance the ration
- Salt and mineral content
- Competition when fed (bunk space)
- Opportunity to medicate feed
- Worn and broken teeth on blocks
Remember, not all feed ingredients are equal in nutrient value or price. Therefore, get your feed analyzed so you know what you are buying or selling, and sharpen your pencil to determine the best value that meets your needs. For more information on comparing feed ingredients utilize the interactive spreadsheet developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.