Hay sticker shock

I just bought hay yesterday, and was lucky to even find any during the horrible drought we’re experiencing here. But…I’m still in shock over the price. $21 per bale for grass hay, approximately 70 pounds per bale. That’s twice the highest price I’ve ever paid. Most farmers are baling the big bales, so it’s even been harder to find the small bales I can handle.

And did I mention I was relieved to even find any?

I hate winter, but boy, am I ever praying for record snow when winter comes this year.

I know many in the West, Upper Mid West are experiencing severe drought with little to no hay being put up at all and other places due to too much rain are not getting much hay put up. It is in short supply even here and with our funky Spring weather our hay yields are way lower than average.

We usually have 150-200 round bales we sell to our hay customer plus with what we keep for ourselves. This year we got our hay done with enough for our needs but had nothing left for our customer.

Second cutting looks great but you don’t get much.

All I can say is get what you can and it will cost. Makes it rough on so many.

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Supply is definitely going to be tight. I’ve heard some farmers are putting hay in the barn and refusing to sell until this winter when prices can be driven higher. Agree with, get all you need now to last til next harvest.

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Buy now, if you can. My other side of the family are cattle & hay farmers. It’s not looking good - I’m usually called last minute a few times a month in the summer to bale hay – as most know, it is weather dependent… It’s mid-July and I’ve only gone out for first cut and 2nd cut isn’t looking too hot - most of the fields are under a few inches of water here. I’m a bit concerned myself about this winter - we don’t have the room to store roundbales in bulk and we go through one a week with our crew.

And ain’t that such a farmer thing to do? (Tongue in cheek – daughter of a long-standing generation of farmers in NE).

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It will only get worse. Cannot imagine the price we will pay here in FL next winter.

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We just got our first 1/2 of what we ordered for the year.
68# alfalfa bales are 13$ each, were 11$ last year.

Should get last 1/2 bales in two weeks or so, weather permitting.
They did mention they were sold out for now, supply is short this year.

I’m getting my winter supply next month and hoping I’ve estimated correctly. Thankfully my hay supplier is a doll and happy to hold hay for me just in case, but I’ll feel better when it’s in my barn.

I only have a few horses so I don’t buy a large amount. Many of our hay growers sell first to their large accounts and then if any is left they may sell a truckload to us.

They were loading their very nice 3rd cutting hay onto trailers today. I will not even tell my horses about it, I know I will not be able to get any of it.

:dizzy_face:Third cutting?
My hayguy neighbors have yet to do the 2nd of my mini-field.
I don’t think they’ve cut the other fields they lease either.
They store loaded wagons in my indoor & usually there are at least 6 in there by now. Including 2 huge cage wagons.
I count 3 wagons there now & 1 of those is just 1/2 full.
Makes me a little edgy, as I usually have my year’s worth stacked in my barn & have maybe 30 bales of my usual 300.
Rainy weather has been a reason, but we now are at the end of a dry week.
Hoping to hear the tractor out there real soon :pray:

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I know, I hate to be low on hay. We have lost a few hay fields over the years to them being split up and sold as lots and new houses built on them.

Many of the people do round bales here especially for cattle. If I put a round bale out with mine I would never see their heads again. They would bury them in the bale.

Good luck for a good hay crop!

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Our crop is down too, about 2/3 of our regular crop. We had a cold spring (-8C in May didn’t help), then HOT and DRY since then, (with lots of wildfires locally), though we have irrigation. But one of our irrigation guns was out of commission early in the year, and is currently limping along, hoping that at some point the repair guy will find time to come by to truly work on it, and actually bring replacement parts.

Our first crop of alfalfa/grass, the good stuff, is in the barn. 280 bales so far, and about 50 of those took some rain, substantial rain (thunderstorms), but dried out just fine before baling. So not the candy we usually try to make, but OK (and maybe low sugar? Haven’t tested it). We don’t usually take a second crop, but will do a partial second cut this year, to attempt to boost our bale numbers. We do round bales usually, but I do some small squares also, in our little meadow grass fields, for my two mares who don’t do well on our good quality alfalfa mix hay. The first little grass field crop of small squares is in the barn as of yesterday, and I’m raking the second little field today. Will bale it and put it in the barn tomorrow. I don’t sell any of this, unless I must, for a friend. These little fields are my own pet project, hubby does the cutting, I do the rest alone (unless a thunderstorm is rolling in at the critical moment). It’s a labour of love that gives me satisfaction. Hubby hates little square bales, thinks that they are stupid. But I find them handy for these little pet projects that I love. My small square baler is older than I am. She has a temper, and opinions… a “lady’s baler”.

We do sell the round bales, the extra that we don’t need for ourselves. We don’t sell to commercial buyers, only private buyers. We won’t sell any until we know how many we are going to have in our full crop. Our regular buyers have put in their wish list… will see how we do filling those lists. We might get another 60 or so bales with the second cut we are planning. On a good year, we get 400 round bales in one cut. On an average year, we get about 350 in one crop. So it sounds like it has been a shitty hay growing year all over.

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I hate to be last on the supply list (although I understand why). The larger orders get filled first and that farmer has arrangements to buy from other local hay growers to fill any orders that are short.

Our local feed mill is considered one of the bigger customers but they will only sell a max of 10 bales at a time.

The only time I felt a little bitter is when an out of town buyer brought in semis and bought 1000’s of bales to sell in another area of the country.

Good luck to everyone!

Oregon… right now hay is pushing $400 a ton and expected to go higher. This is in the valley, where it’s been trucked over from Eastern Oregon. Even local hay is pushing $300/ton for anything horse-feedable. I’ve got a line on some to get in the barn ASAP, but good golly.
If I had the ability to drive clear over to E. Or. I could get good hay for ~250/ton but by the time I factor in my fuel and time…may as well leave it to the pros.

To add to everyones price increase fertilizer costs were up 30% over last year( for us anyways) and diesel fuel is quite a bit higher as well. It all adds up.

@Obsidian_Fire
I am feeling that pain right now-- I need 6 ton of second cut orchard and it is late and expensive this year. I had to buy 6 bales of last year’s hay at the feed store to stretch my remaining hay out…good lord!!! I am hoping to get it for under $400/ton from my hay guy who hauls out of eastern, not central, Oregon (Umatilla area). I am planning on buying a bit extra actually, in case I can’t find any to tide me over from June to August when the next crop comes in next year. I am worried that boarding barns will be raising prices to cover the inevitable shortage/high cost of hay this year. At least this time it isn’t hemp/cannabis taking over hay fields that is raising prices/reducing supply.

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just got two tons of Teff yesterday @$392/ton which is OK pricing but nothing to jump for joy other than first they have it, secondly they deliver and stack it anywhere I want for only $20, and they stand behind the quality… we did get some bales before with trash bailed into them, they replaced those bails and provided complementary five bails at no charge delivered within three hours of telling them of the problem

I do tip the delivery man well in cash as each of three that have been here are each really good and pleasant…and I want them to want to come back as just going to get this hay would cost me more in fuel then their delivery charge, so we switched all of horse needs purchases to this far away feed store (45 miles north of us).

We got the hay sticker shock in I believe it was 2007 or maybe it was 2008 when nearly all the local producers stopped bailing after signing natural gas production contracts, then a drought hit. We were paying nearly $600/ton for long stem Bermuda grass hay take was being trucked in from California, round bales if you could find them got to about $110 each and the weight/quality was really questionable, still fighting some of weeds those bales introduced in the pasture

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Yikes that’s high!! I pay a little more than that, but it’s for 3-string timothy, probably 100+ pounds per bale. I am getting scared tho, I heard most of the hay dealers in E Wash are selling out of state (and why not?!) and I’m worried about winter hay. I even mentioned getting a storage unit and putting hay in it…

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So far, for what we PNW’ers call “local” hay, I haven’t seen a price jump yet. While yields were down, it’s still around $200+/- a ton from the farmer (not dealer), and as usual the quality varies widely. We are lucky to have a neighbor (several, actually) that we buy from out of the field each year and paid the same price per bale as last year. It’s not rocket fuel, but I’m feeding a fat pony anyway (and I had it tested this year just to be sure). Dealer hay is marked up substantially, but the delivery and stacking option is nice when you’re buying literal tons!

I don’t have quite enough to make it to next June - barn just isn’t big enough, unfortunately. I expect winter hay prices will NOT be good!

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We have 5 acres that we don’t use. I may need to look at fencing it in and use as pasture if hay prices keep rising.

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I have about three and a half total that is kept in hay. I’m thinking of fencing in an acre of it to use for grazing this fall, and then fencing in the bottom as well at a later date instead of keeping it in hay. I don’t keep any of it because it’s an orchard grass mix, which I don’t feed to my herd. It’s fine for grazing though! The hay guy has gotten 400 bales off last year and this.

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