Troy Downing, Ann-Marie Chamberlin, Michael Gamroth and Amy Peters
PNW 259 | Revised May 2021


Designed to help dairy farmers calculate the costs of homegrown forages and compare them to the costs of purchasing forages. Presents typical per-acre costs of establishing, producing, and harvesting alfalfa or grass for silage to help farmers estimate costs. Explains how to compare forage production costs to alternatives by assigning relative dry matter values to feeds; includes estimates of dry-matter losses for legume-grass forages harvested by various methods and at various moisture levels. Discusses the importance of determining feed moisture content and provides instructions on how to complete a quick moisture analysis using a scale and microwave oven. Includes a worksheet for comparing forage values based on market price, dry matter, and crude protein content of reference hay and homegrown forage.

About the authors

Ann-Marie Chamberlin
Former Extension livestock and rangeland agent
Oregon State University, Malheur County
Amy Peters
Extension livestock, dairy, and forages agent
Oregon State University, Coos County

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