Hay Market Research: France

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Hay Market Research: France, Part 1

The total export market value for hay and similar forage products in France in 2019 was $99,646,437. An overview of the hay market in France can be found below and in row 8, columns C — G of the spreadsheet attached.

Hay Production and Export in France

  • France and other countries like Argentina, Sudan, Morocco, Germany, Mongolia, and Romania account for less than 11% of the world's hay trade.
  • The total hay production of hay and the total market value for hay in France could not be confirmed or identified, respectively. However, the total export market value for hay in France in 2018 was $114,607,993 and was $99,646,437 in 2019.
  • The total amount of hay exported in 2018 was 456,112,441 kg (or 456,112.44 metric tons). The estimated total amount of hay exported in 2019 was 398,585,748 kg (or 398,585.75 metric tons).
  • Countries to which France exports hay include Saudi Arabia, Switzerland (29% export market share), Germany (19%), Belgium (16.6%), The Netherlands (8.27%), United Arab Emirates (5.66%), Norway (3.75%), United Kingdom (3.53%), Morocco (3.33%), USA (2.04%), and Japan (1.95%).

Research Strategy

After an exhaustive search for the total production of hay in France and its market value, we could not find a source that confirms a total production of 5,133,0000 – 5763,000 metric tons or otherwise. We consulted industry-related sources including the Trading Economics database, France's Ministry of Agriculture official website, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. We also searched other news sources and industry-related publications such as AttijariTrade, EURACTIV, World Data Atlas (does not provide information for fodder crops including hay, Trade Maps, and Trend Economy for statistics that we could use to calculate the total production and later, the market value, such as the percentage of the total that is exported, or the share of the cereal production that hay accounts for, but while information was found for cereal production, they did not include data for hay and was stated in some reports, for example, the World Data Atlas.


With 1 kg = 0.001 metric ton, 456,112,441 kg exported in 2018 is the equivalent of 456,112,441 x 0.001 = 456,112.44 metric tons.

For an estimate of the total exported amount for 2019, we assumed that the rate per kg was similar to that of 2018.

Rate per kg in 2018 = Total Market Value/Net weight (kg) = $114,607,993/456,112,441 = $0.25

To estimate the total amount exported in 2019 we divided the total market value for 2019 ($99,646,437) by the rate per kg in 2018 ($0.25)

= $99,646,437/$0.25 = 398,585,748 kg in 2019

This was then converted to metric tons = 398,585,748 x 0.001 = 398,585.75 metric tons in 2019

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Hay Market Research: France, Part 2

France produces about 800,000 metric tonnes of alfalfa hay every year. Meadow accounts for about 16% of all cultivated land in France, occupying roughly 2,936,947 hectares in France. France also produced between 36,210 metric tonnes and 72,420 metric tonnes of clover in 2019. All the information has been included in row 8, columns H to V of the attached spreadsheet.

Hay production by crop in France

  • According to Mordor Intelligence, French farmers grow roughly 67,000 hectares of alfalfa each year.
  • The government subsidized each alfalfa farmer by giving them $11.18 per tonne of final product.
  • In 2019, France allocated $8.9 million in subsidies for alfalfa farmers. This means that the total subsidized production of alfalfa amounted to roughly 800,000 metric tonnes ($8.9 million / $11.18 per tonne).
  • According to the ESCAA, France cultivates roughly 7,330 hectares of clover for hay production. Considering that the average yield of clover is 2-4 tonnes per acre, the total produced amount of clover hay in 2019 amounted to 36,210 – 72,420 metric tonnes (7,330 * 2 (and 4) * 2.47).
  • In 2018, 16% of the total cultivated land in France was used to grow meadow grass for hay production.
  • The total cultivated land in France as of 2016 was 18,355,920. This means that about 2,936,947 hectares (18,355,920 * 0.16) were used for the cultivation of meadow.
  • According to the FAO, meadow has a yield of 150 kg to 600 kg per hectare. This means that the total production of meadow in France in 2018 was between 440,542 and 1,762,168 metric tonnes.
  • France is also one the biggest producer of rayegrass in Europe.

Research Strategy

To determine the breakdown of the production of different crops used for hay, we focused on information from government databases and industry reports. However, information specific to France for many of the crops was limited. We tried using the French nomenclature for the plants as well but information was equally unavailable. As such, we decided to switch our approach to finding the total amount of acres that are cultivated for each of the crop types in France. We hoped to find the cultivated area and multiply that by the expected yield to estimate the production for each crop in France but we were only able to find enough information for meadow, clover and alfalfa to estimate the total production in the country. As information on the production in France was unavailable for some of the crops, we decided to include the total European crop production as a helpful finding.
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Hay Market Research: France, Part 3

While we were unable to calculate the total market share of hay packaging type in France, our team determined that the most used hay structure in France is the round hay bale; from 91.3% of Luzerne's hay produced in 2017, 63.88% were hay pellets while the other 36.11% were large round and square hay bales. Also, Luzeal, producer of 35% of France's alfalfa hay, compressed 65% of its production in round hay bales and the other 35% in pellets. We included the details of our research below and our findings in the attached spreadsheet.

Additional Relevant Information

  • In France, hay structures or "Les structures de fenaison" are made mostly in silage balls (round hay bales), usually wrapped in plastic.
  • Companies like Fourrage Doulière create high density or large square bales, pellets, round bales, and compressed or small squared bales based on the hay type and use.
  • Small companies like Douliere Hay and smaller farmers who promote their hay bales online use mainly small and large square bales.
  • La Coopération Agricole Luzerne de France is formed by 63,000 farmers and 68,000 hectares in the country, controlling 91.3% of the market share in Luzerne, one of the largest hay producing regions in the North of the country.
  • In 2017, La Coopération Agricole Luzerne de France produced 460,000 tons of pellets and 260,000 tons of long bales, mostly square and round.
  • Some of the largest producers of hay in Luzerne, like Luzeal, Sun Deshy, Tereos, Capdéa, and Cristal Union, are part of the Cooperative.
  • Luzeal harvests 35% of the country's dried alfalfa. In 2019, Luzeal produced 400,000 tonnes of alfalfa hay bales, 140,000 tonnes were packed as pellets, while the rest were structured in round bales.
  • Alamy, a global photography catalog, provided us with images of the most common type of hay bale structure in France, round hay bales in every image.

Research Strategy

To determine the total market share of the type of hay packaging in France, we began looking for the most recent reports related to hay bale wrapping, structure, and industry in English and French, in case the information was only available locally. While we found a report of bale wrapping types, it didn't have any information about the market share by structure or details specific to France. We also found more reports about the hay industry, but these had no information about packaging structure, and we focused globally.

As our next step, we searched through interviews and articles in local and global newspapers and industry magazines for any information about the distribution by hay structure in the country. We found a European sustainability analysis about the hay structure changes in the continent. It said that in France, the most used structure are round or silage balls, often wrapped in plastic. However, besides this information, it had no market share distribution or any quantitative data to make our calculations.

Our next step was examining the different distribution channels of hay in France and different databases that sold them. Our objective was to find reports from the distributors about the most sold type of hay bales, proof from the availability of what was moved the most, the different types of structures offered through different providers, etc.

We searched through producers' websites, cultural sites, and distributor websites like Alibaba, among others. We found that in Alamy, every search results for available imagery for hay bales in France showed round bales, as the sustainability report indicated.

The results also showed that mid-sized companies, like Fourrage Doulière, create hay bales in all shapes, including high density or large square bales, pellets, round bales, and compressed or small squared bales based on its type and use. Additionally, we noticed that smaller distributors like Douliere Hay and smaller independent farmers who promote their hay bales online use mainly small and large square bales of hay. Unfortunately, none of these results had any production numbers that we could compare to the total production size of hay in France, which has been indicated in other sections of our analysis as 5,133,000-5,763,000 metric tonnes.

Since we noticed that there was no recent information (24 months) about the market share by hay packaging type, we decided to expand our search to include information from the past five years. While we were unable to find additional reports that included this segmentation, we found a promotional video for the farmers of France uploaded by La Coopération Agricole Luzerne de France. The video showed that in 2017, from 63,000 farmers and 68,000 hectares of hay produced in the country, 460,000 tons were packed as pellets, and 260,000 tons as large round and squared bales.

From this, we calculated that, in Luzerne, from 720,000 tons of hay produced (460,000 + 260,000) by the farmers associated to La Coopération Agricole Luzerne de France, 63.88% (460,000/720,000 = 0.6388) were packed as pellets, and the other 36.11% (260,000/720,000 = 0.3611) as large round and squared bales of hay. Although this only represented the Luzerne region, this organization has 91.3% of the market share in Luzerne. However, it was no indicator to the rest of the country, and it contradicted the sustainability report that said most hay bales were round.

Then, we decided to look for any available report, or more statistical videos released by La Coopération Agricole de France but got the same results, no information was available.

As our final step, we looked through the websites of the largest producers of hay bales in France trying to compare their products and statistics. We searched companies like Luzeal, Sun Deshy, Tereos, Capdéa, and Cristal Union. The only one that had some relevant information was Luzeal, saying that the company harvests 35% of the country's dried alfalfa and in 2019, produced 400,000 tonnes of alfalfa hay bales, 140,000 tonnes were used for alfalfa pellets, while the rest was structured in round bales (400,000-140,000 =260,000 tonnes). In contrast with the numbers presented by La Coopération Agricole Luzerne de France, only 35% (140,000/400,000 = 0.35) of the bales fabricated were packed as pellets and confirmed the information that the majority of hay bales are round, 65%, at least in the company. (100%-35% =65%).

Finally, after a throughout research about the market share of hay structure type in France, we concluded that the information is not publicly available, and with the limited information found online cannot be calculated.
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Hay Market Research: France, Part 4

The majority of hay, about 95%, is used and grown by local farmers in France. However, the majority of the production is done by larger commercial companies like Luzeal and Desialis. Desialis sells about 80% of the total alfalfa hay in the country while Luzeal produces about 35% of the total dry alfalfa. All the information has been included in crow 8, columns AC to AG of the attached spreadsheet.


  • According to Mordor Intelligence, about 80% of the total alfalfa production is used and cultivated by local French farms.
  • Another report by CIDE, notes that 95% of the alfalfa production comes from agricultural cooperatives.
  • However, the production of alfalfa hay is handled by major commercial players, like Luzeal and Desialis, that use specialized factories for alfalfa drying process.
  • Desialis sells about 80% of the total alfalfa hay in the country, which means that at least 80% of the total alfalfa hay is produced and sold by commercial players. As alfalfa makes about half of the total hay production, we can assume that the majority of the hay production is handled by commercial players.
  • According to an article published in MDPI, in Europe, about 95% of the total hay is used by farmers.

Research Strategy

To determine the amount of hay that is consumed by farms and the amount of hay that is produced by commercial companies, we began by going through industry reports and government databases. Unfortunately, information specific to French hay production is rather limited. We did, however, find that the majority of the alfalfa hay is produced by commercial companies that dry it up in specialized factories. We also found some statistics about the total hay used by farmers in Europe. As information was rather limited on the hay production in France, we used the statistics for alfalfa production in the country and the information about hay use in Europe to demonstrate the amount of hay that is consumed by farms and the amount of hay that is produced by commercial companies in France.
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Hay Market Research: France, Part 5

In France, dairy cows consume about 15,612,649 to 23,840,814 metric tons per year, while beef cattle consume about 13,244,897 to 19,867,345 metric tons per year. Horses consume about 2,086,071 to 2,781,428 metric tons per year, in France, while sheep and goats consume 576,152 to 860,918 metric tons per year. Lastly, hay eating pets (primarily small mammals) likely consume less than 60,781 metric tons per year. A deep dive of these findings and the research strategies involved have been presented below. Likewise, this data has been added to Row 8, Columns AI-AM of the attached spreadsheet.

Dairy Cows

  • Dairy Cows: There are 3.6 million dairy cows in France. A dairy cow will typically eat around 30-40 lbs of hay per day (or, 10,950 lbs to 14,600 lbs per year). This means that among total dairy cows in France, about 34.42 billion lbs to 52.56 billion lbs are consumed per year (or, 3.6 million x 10,950 and 3.6 million x 14,600). This equates to roughly 15,612,649 to 23,840,814 metric tons.

Beef Cattle

  • Beef Cattle: France has over 4 million suckler cows (i.e. cows that are kept for the production of beef). A beef cow will typically eat somewhere around 20-30 lbs of hay per day depending on its size and hay moisture (or, 7,300 lbs to 10,950 lbs per year). This means that among total beef cattle in France, about 29.2 billion to 43.8 billion lbs of hay are consumed per year (or, 4 million x 7,300 and 4 million x 10,950). This equates to roughly 13,244,897 to 19,867,345 metric tons.


  • Horses: There are around 840,000 horses in France. A horse will typically eat between 15 and 20 lbs of hay per day (or, 5,475 lbs to 7,300 lbs per year). This means that among total horses in France, about 4.599 billion to 6.132 billion lbs of hay are consumer per year (or, 840,000 x 5,475 and 840,000 x 7,300). This equates to roughly 2,086,071 to 2,781,428 metric tons.

Sheep and Goats

  • Sheep: There are 1.2 million sheep in France. Sheep will eat around 1.5 lbs of hay per day (or, 547.5 lbs per year). This means that among total sheep in France, about 657 million lbs of hay are consumed per year (or, 1.2 million x 547.5). This equates to roughly 298,010 metric tons.
  • Goats: There are 850,000 goats in France. Goats will eat around 2-4 lbs of hay per day (or, 730 lbs to 1,460 lbs per year). This means that among total goats in France, about 613.2 million to 1.241 billion lbs of hay are consumed per year (or, 850,000 x 730 and 850,000 x 1,460). This equates to roughly 278,142 to 562,908 metric tons.
  • For sheep and goats total, this equates to around 576,152 to 860,918 metric tons (or, 298,010 + 278,142 and 298,010 + 562,908).


  • Small mammals as pets (e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils): There are 3.4 million small mammal pets in France. A typical 5 lb rabbit will eat about 8lbs of hay per month (about 0.26 lbs per day, or 4.16 oz). Guinea pigs eat at least 1 oz of hay per day. Hamsters and gerbils may eat hay, but will typically only consume small amounts at their leisure (overall less than 12 grams of all foods per day, or 0.035 oz). The overall calculated average across these small mammal types is then 1.73 oz of hay per day (or, 631.45 oz per year). This means that among small mammal pets in France, somewhere in the ballpark of 2.147 billion oz of hay are consumed per year (or, about 3.4 million x 631.45). In pounds, this equates to about 134 million lbs. This equates to roughly (likely less than) 60,781 metric tons.

Research Strategy

After exhaustive research, it was determined that the amount of hay consumed by various animal species in France does not appear to be directly and publicly available. This was determined after research was conducted through market and industry reports. Overall, this data is severely lacking, likely due to the variance with which these animals eat hay and the highly fragmented nature of this data (for example, farmers probably keep track of their own livestock's hay consumption levels, but these levels are not really being reported or compiled anywhere as a total across all farmers, and it's likely very difficult to track end-use of hay bales by animal type at the country level for the same reasons, etc). Despite this, we were able to triangulate some estimates by first determining how many of the animals exist within the country and then conducting research to determine how much hay one of the animals eats per year, and then multiplying. It should be noted that during this process, it was determined that the amount of hay eaten per animal can vary based on things like the animal's size, hay conditions and quality, weather conditions, whether the animal is pregnant or nursing, whether the animal is being milked, etc. It was not possible to take all of these variables into account for these high level estimates, therefore, only ballpark figures have been provided. Likewise, for the pets category, it was determined that 'pet' is a subjective term and there are any number of animals that eat hay which may or may not be considered a pet based on the owner's preference and relationship to the animal (e.g. pigs). To simplify these obstacles, our team choose to focus on small mammals kept as pets, as this data was most readily available and it is logically believed that these are the most commonly kept hay eating pets due to their convenience (e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs etc). Initially, we attempted to break all the data down by individual pet type, but it was found that the total number of all relevant animal types being kept as pets in France was not readily available (e.g. total number of rabbits, total number of hamsters, etc), however, a total figure for small mammal pets was found which was used in lieu of this. Additionally, it was determined that not all small mammal pets are consuming the same amount of hay equally, which posed another obstacle. Therefore, we calculated the average amount of hay such animals would eat overall by analyzing the hay consumption levels by species and multiplied this by the total small mammal pet figure. Please note that the result of this estimate is very rough due to all the numerous stated variables which may affect it. For example, some of the 3.4 million small mammal pets are likely not consuming any hay at all, as the research conducted reported, for example, that not all hamsters like hay so some don't eat it. Likewise, the 3.4 million small mammal pets figure was not clear on which exact species were included in this figure etc. Therefore, the estimate for the pets category is likely a higher-end estimate and the true number is likely less than this, possibly significantly less. However, we feel this is likely the best estimate that can be arrived at given the overall lack of data and complexity of variables involved. Please note that conversion calculators were used for some of these calculations, such as converting pounds to metric tons, etc.
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Hay Market Research: France, Part 6

This report provides selected findings related to the hay market in France. Additional findings were entered into this spreadsheet.

Selected Findings

Research Strategy

Recognizing that there are different kinds of hay, some information gathered in this report is specific to alfalfa hay. This is due to the robust amount of information related to the alfalfa hay market in France in addition to global industry reports signifying alfalfa is the hay segment of the greatest commercial interest.

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Hay Market Research: France, Part 7

Alfalfa hay is the major type of hay produced in France. The country is also one of the biggest hay producers in Europe. Overall, the alfalfa market is poised to grow at a CAGR of 3.4%, which is higher than the overall growth of the European animal feed market. We have entered all the information in row 8, column AS of the attached spreadsheet.

Overview of the hay market

  • The alfalfa hay market in France is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.4% until 2025.
  • The market itself is very fragmented as there are a lot of different players that occupy a small market share.
  • According to Mordor Intelligence, France is one of the biggest producers of hay in Europe.
  • Some of the biggest companies that produce hay in France include Anderson Hay & Grain, Cubeit Hay Company, Douliere Hay France SAS, Gilles Baudot French Hay, S&S Agrisource, Coaba Group, SL Follen, and Al Dahra ACX Global.

Growth Drivers

  • One of the main growth drivers for the French hay market is the decreasing farm land, which forces farms to rely more on hay products to meet the nutritional needs of the animals.
  • The high nutritional value of hay products, especially alfalfa, has also given the market a competitive edge over other livestock feed products.
  • Additionally, the government has been focusing on boosting the domestic production of hay by supporting local companies to increase their yields.
  • Especially popular is alfalfa hay because of its high nutritional value and resistance to drought.
  • Due the rapid rise in demand for alfalfa hay, the French government has decided to provide special funding to alfalfa farmers.
  • France has also increased its exports of hay to Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Norway, with experts predicting that the rise in alfalfa hay exports will increase even further in the next years.

Research Strategy

While we were able to find information on the European hay market and the French alfalfa hay market, data on the hay market in France was limited. We focused our efforts on industry reports and trusted media articles such as Mordor Intelligence and Feed Strategy but information for the overall hay market in France was limited. We were, however able to find several reports about the outlook of the European feed market and the European alfalfa hay market as well as information on the French alfalfa market. As information for the overall hay market was limited, we decided to use those reports to extrapolate some of the data for France.
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Hay Market Research: France, Part 8

Introduction & Research Strategy

The hay market in France has been depicted below, as well as in row 8 of the attached spreadsheet. In column AU for France, a SWOT analysis has been provided with footnoted sources for reference. The hyperlinks to these sources are listed in column AV. The information used to build this SWOT analysis came largely from the brief insights listed by paid market reports and are related to the dominant products in the French hay industry, key players, and opportunities for new entrants. A few threats related to these same aspects of the industry have also been detailed. In some instances, industry statistics were also provided to give more insights related to the position of the French hay market compared to the global industry. The SWOT analysis is detailed below, as well as in the attached spreadsheet.

Hay Market in France

  • The French market for alfalfa hay is expected to grow with a CAGR of 3.4% until the year 2025.
  • There are approximately 10,000 farmers throughout all of France that grow alfalfa hay, and 80% of them are located in East of Paris.
  • France is one of the leading manufacturers in the world of alfalfa hay according to paid industry reports [6].

  • When France experiences a drought like it did between 2017-2018, alfalfa hay growth slows down, as it does not grow naturally in extreme heat [1].
  • According to the ITC Trade Map between the years of 2001-2017, France holds less than 11% of the global market share of alfalfa and grass hay trading [4].

  • The increasing production of alfalfa hay in France is helping increase the demand and thus exports of other goods, such as high protein feed for livestock [1].
  • The production of haymaking machinery is continuing to grow in France alongside the increasing demand for hay. The market for this technology is increasing 1.2% year-on-year and could allow other companies to step in as a major supplier [2].
  • Farmers of alfalfa hay in Dordogne, France are working together to dry the product to increase food autonomy, as well as to build a better system for crop rotation and performing systems. This production method increases the quality of hay bales, which further increases demand [5].
  • The sale price of alfalfa hay is increasing on a global scale because of demand, which presents greater opportunities for new providers to have a share in the market [6].

  • Some of the top growers of alfalfa hay in France that are competing with one another for market share include Douliere Hay France SAS, Gilles Baudot French Hay, Coaba Group, Anderson Hay & Grain Co., and Cubeit Hay Company [1].
  • The French alfalfa hay market is highly fragmented, meaning that it is very competitive and does not have clearly defined dominant players; instead, many farmers are competing for large chunks of the industry right now [1].
  • Hay-making has become less common and valued in France in the traditional sense; instead, hay balls, silage balls, and hay wrapped in plastic is the most common way hay is used [3].

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