How Much Does A Hay Preservative/Additive Cost?

Mark Lourey
Feedworks Pty Ltd




  • Hay preservatives cost between $6-15/MT of hay to apply
  • You get better asset utilisation (equipment/land), improved hay quality along with a reduced risk of spoilage and hay fires
  • The net benefit in using Hay Preservatives is between $4-50/MT of hay


As a user or potential user of Hay Preservatives, one of the first questions you ask is how much it will cost? While most people will say it depends. I’ll do my best to answer this question.


The use of Hay Preservatives Does require some knowledge and details. You can’t compare apples with oranges, but we can help you can get a sense of the cost and value creation in using Hay Preservatives. So here goes.


Like most products there is a range of options with Hay Preservatives. A bit like buying a car you have different models and each model has distinctive features. It’s the same with Hay Preservatives. The actual type of product you buy and will have unique features and how you use those features will influence the cost per MT. At this point I wanted to note that inoculants are not Hay preservatives, rather they are Silage additives and are not considered as applicable for the application we will discuss below.


For Hay Preservatives most cost between $6/MT and $15/MT to use. The lower end being sulphur based preservatives and the higher end being organic acids. Cost is not the end of the story though. The net value created is the most important. For example, we know Hay Guard (sulphur-based preservatives) very well and have great confidence in the replicated and field data generated. With great confidence you get reliability! We know that Hay Guard makes money for a contractor and produces a better-quality hay with a net benefitfrom between $4/MT to $50/MT using this technology.


Let’s look at some of the options and features you may consider.


1 . Asset Utilisation


  a.       Equipment:

  • Most users Hay Guard to bale more hours in day. When baling on dew moisture having the balers run 8 hours a day as opposed to 4 or 5 gives far more productivity that can translate to 100 – 150 tons more per day per baler. Let’s look at this in dollar terms. If you apply Hay Guard for the 8 hours and make 240 MT instead of 120MT. At contracting rates of $35/MT x 120MT extra that’s $4200 gross. Now if you ONLY apply Hay Guard during the extra 4 hours of baling when the traditional moisture window is too high the ROI essentially doubles.Now what if you could bale on sap moisture during that day? It would make a massive impact to work practices and even lifestyle (you get to sleep in you own bed at night). If this opportunity was taken up baling for 12 hours a day is reasonable.
    That 12 hours instead of 4 hours. So, an extra 8 hours per day giving you an extra 200-300MT of hay per day. At contracting rates of $35/MT that’s $7000-10,000 extra gross per day.


    b.      Land:

  • By getting the hay of the ground quickly using Hay Preservatives you can use that land more effectively. This is especially valuable in irrigated situations like Lucerne hay where you can irrigate or use land 2-3 weeks earlier. This would effectively allow an extra cut and around 3-4MT/Ha increase in yield per annum on Lucerne. If you make 12 MT/Ha now and apply Hay Guard to achieve an extra 4 MT/Ha @ $250/MT= $800.00 per Ha more revenue per year. If you had 100 hectares of irrigated Lucerne means an extra $80,000.00 p.a.You can make your own calculation on land use efficiency depending upon your circumstances.



2.       Hay Quality:


  • We all pride ourselves on making top quality hay and building long term relationships with our customers. By using Hay Guard to make hay faster (5-7 days) improves quality, although you could make it even quicker (3-4 days) if you want. Baling earlier retains more leaf, nutrients and quality. Based on one trial example for oaten hay its worth $100/Mt more getting off the ground quickly v’s traditional. So, if you make 5000 MT and can capture even half of that ($50 premium) its worth $250,000 p.a.



3.       Risk reduction


    a. Spoilage:

  • Most people fight the weather and get product spoilage in probably 8 out of every 10 years. Getting hay off the ground quickly using hay preservatives will significantly reduce losses to spoilage.


    b. Hay fires:

  • The traditional thought about why hay fires occur is that its about moisture. In fact, the real culprit is mould and yeast levels in the hay. The longer the hay is on the ground the greater the risk of elevated mould and yeast counts which are match ready to light up when the conditions are right. Using hay Preservatives like Hay Guard dramatically reduces your risk of hay fires by allowing you to get the hay off the ground



I also know you would love to read about all the technical reasons behind these benefits, but that’s for another document and conversation when you have time.


I hope this helps you put some context into the cost and value creation when using Hay preservatives and specifically Hay Guard.

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