Our hay is sourced from some of the best hay growers in the country.  The majority of our hay is offered in large square bales but we can also source large round bales on a spot market basis.  Due to our commitment to quality, all Grower Pool hay that is produced is visually inspected as well as tested for nutritional content.  Since ALL of our hay is tested for quality, our prices directly reflect the actual quality of the hay.  Our pricing system is based on Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) and the pricing tiers are listed below.  The reason for using RFQ, rather than the Relative Feed Value (RFV), is that RFQ assesses the digestible fiber of alfalfa and other forages such as grasses whereas RFV typically only accounts for the digestible fiber of the alfalfa.

Types of Hay

Dry (15% moisture)

  • Alfalfa, Alfalfa/Grass Mix, Grass Hay
  • Square Bales:  3x3x8, 3x4x8, 4x4x8
  • Round Bales:  4x4, 4x5, 5x6 (spot market only)

Low Moisture Baleage (15%-30% moisture)

  • Alfalfa, Alfalfa/Grass Mix, Grass Hay
  • Square Bales:  3x3x6 (individually wrapped)
  • Round Bales:  4x4 (individually wrapped)
  • Hay Standards

Hay Protocol

1. Organic Valley purchases hay from certified organic producers who have on-farm storage through the CROPP Cooperative Grower Pool, forward contracts and on the spot market.  Hay must be under cover and test results reported to us before we can take delivery. 

2. Hay must be baled in large square bales (3x3x8, 3x4x8 or 4x4x8).  Round bales will be accepted on a spot market basis and will be priced differently than square bales due to additional freight costs.

3. We arrange all logistics. Delivery will generally be by 48-ft. flatbed. You must load the hay onto our truck and can assist us by suggesting reliable truckers.  Please verify the truck has been cleaned before loading. All loads of square bales are required to be tarped by the trucking company. Ask them to tarp the load if they haven’t, or if they refuse, please report to Organic Valley immediately.

4. No payments can be made without our receipt of your invoice, a bill of lading and a weight slip from a certified scale signed by you.  Organic Valley should be labeled as the “seller” on the bill of lading.  Please give directions to the trucker when they call to make an appointment to a certified scale of your choice.  We highly recommend that you either accompany the load to the scale and get a copy of the weight slip for yourself or that you give the driver a self-addressed stamped envelope to send it back to you.  

5. We are generally interested only in dairy quality hay with an RFQ of 140 or better.  Most of our member-buyers would prefer hay with some grass in it.  Hay will be purchased according to its quality as expressed in RFQ (relative forage quality) which better accounts for the actual digestible feed value of hay for ruminant livestock than RFV (relative feed value).  See attached for a discussion and explanation of RFQ.   

6. Contracts are intended for dry hay but will accept baleage on a case by case basis. 

7. Hay should be tested at least 2 weeks after baling to allow time for sweating.  All hay samples must be sent to: CROPP Cooperative, Attn: Feed Program, One Organic Way, LaFarge, WI  54639. We reserve the right to ask for a re-test if the initial moisture is greater than 13 percent to determine if caramelization has occurred.   

8. Loads of hay must not include any obviously moldy or dusty bales. Bales stored on the ground and likely to be dirty on the bottom must be reported to us so we can reveal that information to potential buyers.

9. In-season prices are set by July 1 and post-harvest prices are set on October 1 within approved collars. Hay must meet three out of four criteria to fall into a tier on the hay pricing chart.

10. Midwest supreme hay pricing will be capped at $350/ton and will be adjusted regionally based on CROPP’s regional pricing. If a grower is able to get more than $350/ton for a lot of hay, grower will be released from that lot in their Grower Pool contract.


Our straw is sourced primarily from the Midwest shortly after small grain harvest. The majority of our straw is offered in large square bales but we can also source large round bales, if available.  We strive to provide quality bedding for our farmers to be in compliance with the NOP ruling, as stated below.

NOP Ruling:

7 CFR 205.239 (a) (3) states: Appropriate clean, dry bedding. When roughages are used as bedding, they shall have been organically produced in accordance with this part by an operation certified under this part, except as provided in section 205.236 (a) (2) (i), and, if applicable, organically handled by operations certified to the NOP.

* Simply stated: Any certified organic farm using roughages (straw, hay, etc.) for bedding must use Certified Organic products.

Types of Bedding

Absorbency Scale:    0---------------------------10
                                            Low                  High

Barley Straw

  • Absorbency Factor: 2.0
  • Typical Nutrient Composition:
    • Crude Protein: 4.3%
    • N.E.L.: 0.49 MCAL/lbs
    • TDN: 49%

Corn Stover

  • Absorbency Factor: 2.5


  • Absorbency Factor: 3.0

Oat Straw

  • Absorbency Factor: 2.5
  • Typical Nutrient Composition:
    • Crude Protein: 4.4%
    • N.E.L.: 0.50 MCAL/lbs. 
    • TDN: 50%

Rye Straw

  • Typical Nutrient Composition:
    • Crude Protein: 3.0%
    • N.E.L.: 0.43 MCAL/lbs
    • TDN: 44%

Triticale Straw

Wheat Straw

  • Absorbency Factor: 2.1
  • Typical Nutrient Composition:
    • Crude Protein: 3.6%
    • N.E.L.: 0.43 MCAL/lbs
    • TDN: 44%

Typical Bale Sizes

  • Square Bales:  3x3x8, 3x4x8, 4x4x8
  • Round Bales:  4x5, 5x6