Forage: Economics and Marketing

The basic definition of profitability is to make more money than you spend. In a forage operation, producers often do not have a good idea of how much an acre of forage costs to produce. In order to make good financial decisions, it is important to begin to understand the cost of planting and managing various forage species. This will allow producers to determine which species are potentially the most or least expensive, and will influence the farm’s bottom line. Information here will provide a basis for this planning.  

For more information and resources that are not contained here, or to reach out about other questions about your operation please contact Link Pointer Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

Information and Resources

Link Pointer Seasonal Hay Feeding for Cattle Production in Tennessee
This publication stems from research conducted in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. The publication outlines management practices and forage mixtures that influence the number of days cattle producers in Tennessee feed hay by season.

Link Pointer Tennessee Cropland, Irrigated Cropland and Pastureland Cash Rental Rates for 2019
From 2017 to 2019, Tennessee cash rental rates for non-irrigated cropland increased 4 percent; irrigated cropland increased 6 percent; and pastureland rates increased by 5 percent, as reported by USDA-NASS. However, since 2009, non-irrigated, irrigated and pastureland cash rental rates are up 40 percent, 30 percent and 5 percent, respectively. As such, producers and property owners who are trying to determine a value or rental rate should contact a qualified professional in their region. The attached tables and maps are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation of cash rental rates in any county or region.

Link Pointer Pasture, Rangeland and Forage Insurance as a Risk Management Tool
The purpose of this publication is to explain what the Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) Insurance Program is, how it works, and how it can be utilized in a forage risk management system.

Link Pointer Economics of Baleage for Beef Cattle Operations
For beef cattle producers who have been affected by lack of winter forage in recent years, use of baleage systems to harvest and store forage may be a worthwhile investment. Producers may need to focus on increasing the nutritional value of the baleage for the decision to purchase a bale wrapper and high-moisture baler to be economical.

Link Pointer Managing Nitrate Levels in Bermudagrass Hay: Implications for Net Returns
This article provides a new economic framework to help hay producers choose optimal N fertilizer rates when nitrate toxicity to cattle is an issue. Although bermudagrass is not considered a high-risk forage for accumulating nitrate levels toxic to cattle, this approach to managing nitrate levels in bermudagrass can be adapted for any forage being produced for hay.

Link Pointer Economic Implications of Growing Native Warm-Season Grasses for Forage in the Mid-South
As many Tennessee producers are aware, cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue and orchardgrass, suffer from poor forage production during the summer months. This has led to the search for cost-effective alternatives to bridge this summer “forage slump.” Many of their attributes, such as being native, long-lasting and having low input requirements, make them well worth considering.