Read the current Progressive Forage digital edition


Manage employees, analyze yield drivers, explore forage markets, become more confident in preparing farm financial statements, and untangle farm succession issues.


Profitable businesses generally have an “edge” of some sort over the competition.Some tend to focus on low cost. Other businesses are known for marketing exceptionally high-quality products that keep people coming back even if they cost a little more.

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Hay crops in many ways are a unique crop to market.

The demand for hay in the winter is very closely tied to the past summer’s production and supporting weather. This alone does not make it much different than most grain crops and their markets. But it is here that the similarities end.

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Forage management strategies are as varied as the farmers who grow the forages.

“Despite differing management plans, there are a few key concepts to remember with the advent of fall,” says a University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist.

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The last few years have been difficult ones for hay producers.

Regardless if someone is producing hay to feed to their own stock or producing it for sale to the public, the economics of hay production have changed drastically in the last several years. As a result, many producers are now taking a long-overdue look at the economics of hay production.

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Selling versus marketing
First, let’s make a distinction between selling and marketing.

These two terms are frequently used interchangeably, but the processes are quite different. Selling is defined simply as the exchange or delivery of goods and services to a customer for a negotiated price.

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As a buyer or seller of hay, what works for you?

In the end, the buyer and seller are working towards a price that gives both a reasonable chance to make a living – a return for their share in labor, management, capital and risk.

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