When you consider the amount of labor, land, equipment, seed, lime and fertilizer invested in producing hay, the cost is high. Are you throwing money away due to hay loss from insufficient hay storage? According to four research projects conducted by WVU Extension, storage losses from large round hay bales stored in a barn averages 5%. This loss can increase significantly for hay stored outside.

The average loss for hay covered outside on a pallet is 8%; uncovered outside on pallet is 34%; uncovered outside on gravel is 22%; and uncovered outside on ground is 33%. The locations of the bales used in the project were stored on well drained soils. In a wet year, storing on wet soils for even a few months can result in a 10% to 25% loss from the bottom of a round bale. According to an example provided by WVU, storing hay on the ground instead of a barn amounts to about $600 per year in additional haying costs to feed 25 head of cattle averaging 1100 pounds each. (for more information on round bale storage costs go to   www.caf.wvu.edu

If you don't have proper hay storage and would like to better protect your investment, you might want to consider talking to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) about a low interest Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL). For applicants showing a hay storage need, FSA will loan 85% of the net cost of building the facility up to $500,000. Loan terms are available for seven, ten, or twelve years depending on the amount of the loan. The interest rate is fixed for the loan term based on the rate in effect during the month the loan is initially approved. For November, the interest rate is 1.5% for a seven-year loan; 2.0% for a ten-year loan; and 2.25% for a twelve-year loan. Loans are repayable in equal annual installments of principal and interest amortized over the term of the FSFL term.

For more information on the FSFL program contact the Gilmer-Calhoun FSA Office at (304) 462-7171 extension 2 or visit the office located in the Glenville Post Office Building, Room 122. Special accommodations will be made, upon request, for persons with disabilities, vision or hearing impairments. Please call if accommodations are required.

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