A friend paid $1400 to have her 25 acres of hay fields and pastures fertilized in 2021. She touched base with the crew for this year and the quote is $2700. She is in MO just over the KS line. Are you all seeing this kind of increase elsewhere? The price of hay is going to be double last years price at this rate.
I spray my own fields. There was a shortage but price was about the same. I had to wait a little to get my chemicals, but did get them. Wonder if labor is driving the price up.
I read that the price of nitrogen has become very high because the production of it is tied to costly natural gas so that is part of the increase.
That is interesting that your prices were not affected.
The price increase is nationwide, and very real. Many co-operative extensions are holding meetings for farmers to look for alternatives.
It will not affect just hay prices. Just about any row crop will be affected, as well as pasture raised meats.
There’s just not enough poop in the world. Horse owners are sitting on a gold mine No seriously- time for stable owners to charge vs paying to have it carted away?
We have experienced the same sticker shock on fertilizer here in Western Canada. Almost double. Since we have been fertilizing our hay fields annually, we may just use half the normal amount of fertilizer, and go with that for a year, see what happens next year in terms of fertilizer costs. Our fields do have some manure on them, and that will help. And we don’t push for multiple crops of hay… so more like “natural” growth. The more times you cut, the more stressed and worn out the plants get, requiring nitrogen to replace what you have harvested.
Our hay prices will increase next year, for sure. Should have increased this year, but didn’t. The increased cost of diesel fuel for tractors is also going to add to the cost of hay. Double whammy.
If you can get some one to take horse manure though. I had a customer, until last year when I got nailed by pass through herbicide from some lovely hay that I got. Thankfully, it killed off a section of my garden, not theirs. ‘Graz-on’ and that class of herbicides is wonderful for pasture management, unfortunately our quest for weed free hay and pastures has created toxic manure…
I only buy hay that has clover in it now, which ensures that herbicide class is not present.
Yes Grazon is the devil incarnate. I got it in my garden from hay grown by the feedstore. Killed so many tomato plants! Grazon wreaks havoc on legumes besides tomatoes so if you have legumes in your hay you don’t have Grazon on it. I quit buying hay from that store and am now buying cool season hays and don’t seem to have Grazon on my hay. If you want to test hay before you add it to compost - plant some bean seeds in the broken down hay. You will know after they come up because they will start twisting up from Grazon damage. It stays in the soil a lot longer than you think. Never want to get it in my garden again.
As someone who works professionally in the ag field (although with organics primarily) - I think it will be variable if the price of fertilizer impacts hay prices, and that is likely to vary on region as well. Where I am, with a lot of dairy farms with ample manure and hay fields that tend to be pretty high in legume composition (plants that “make” their own nitrogen), I don’t see a whole lot of synthetic N being applied. That could vary geographically, and the horse world (which tends to have more emphasis on grass hay and small square bales) is a bit different.
There is a shortage of herbicide and fungicide products, but that is different than the fertilizer inputs and I haven’t heard about how that is impacting price - just that people should buy now if the products they need are available.
Seeding some legumes into pasture and hay fields (with the correct rhizobium inoculant) can help decrease N needs. But you need the K to support the legumes.
That is a big part of it as well as some ingredients in mixing fertilizer are in short supply. It is more than just Nitrogen. I am in MO and the cost has more than doubled from what we paid last Spring. We are going to do soil samples before we fertilize anything because of the cost.
This will be a cost increase everywhere. Not just the Midwest, I would imagine. I wonder if it will make feed prices go up again too??
The fertilizer people warned me last year about increased costs. I get fertilizer after soil testing in two loads. They blend what each side needs in granulated particles, so I use a spreader wagon to lay it down. I don’t use liquid fertilizers. One load for pastures, one load for the hayfields. We need more of the minerals over nitrogen for hay. Previous owners hadn’t fertilized for 20 years!! But adding fertilizer is part of the cost of raising hay and pasture. So you pay what you have to.
I have been spreading horse manure, but actually horse manure is not nearly as nutrient beneficial as cow, sheep, goat or rabbit manure. One stomach animal does not pull nutrients from food like the multi-stomached animal does. The sawdust bedding helps by adding organic matter which my clay soil ALWAYS needs. Sawdust or any woody bedding takes longer to break down, but stays in place which non-composted straw or hay does not. I do not compost, want the volumes of sawdust bedding to cover my land with. I am almost done covering the 11 acres of hayfield once, though I have been at it almost 2 1/2 years. Can’t spread there in summer when hay is growing. The land was very muddy, got stuck a lot while spreading, after turning up the soil the first year before the grass got established. And we do not really have that much manure to spread daily. I spread on the pastures in summer, also helpful in adding the bedding as organic matter, acts as mulch to help the pasture plants.
We are trying to increase hay yield, had some issues, managment, weather, last summer and had to buy to have enough for winter. NOT listening to the Extension Service this year, it reduced yield by cutting on a schedule. No height. Well, anyone can be an “expert” if they are further than 25 miles from home!! Ha ha
I will be spraying herbicide, trying to get rid of volunteer clover. It cuts down our grass yield, takes a day longer to dry before safe baling. This is even with a conditioner behind the mower! LOOKS terrible, though horses scarf it down. Maybe it will leave the extra nitrogen in the soil if I can kill it.
Thanks for the price increase warning. I will need to budget more for the hay expenses. Hoping to have a hay accumulator and grapple for picking up bales with less handling. The Pros using them make it look so easy!
The first time I saw the farmer pick up a block of ten squares in one fell swoop with the grapple, I about swooned. His baler pops them out in that handy ten block pattern too. I was incredibly impressed.
Stopped to visit my hay farmer friends and they were working on their taxes. I think they farm about 200 acres in west Michigan. The price of their fertilizer last year was $49,000! Didn’t ask what they paid the year before, because I was so stunned their little operation had that kind of a bill.
Wouldn’t this mean that more of the nutrients are moving through the animal back out with the manure, since if nutrients are being more efficiently “pulled”/digested, they are being more efficiently used by the animal for metabolic processes and growth?
We are looking at the 8 bale size, tractor is only 40Hp. I think it can handle grapple and weight of 8 bales without a problem. Do not want to buy a bigger tractor. But yeah, 8 or 10 bales at a time is wonderful!! Such a person handling saver! The guy down the road fills his semi trucks in no time with his 10 bale grapples on skidsteers. ENVY here.
We will still need some help stacking in the barn. Aisle is not real wide for turns. I HAVE mentioned a newer skidsteer with tracks and more lifting capacity that would fit in the aisle for stacking! Probably won’t happen though.
Not sure exactly how the nutrients are pulled and used by the animals, who look well fed. Just that their manure is more beneficial when spread. Having sheep and growing young cattle in one field, everything in there grew much better than in the horse only paddock beside it. The cattle and sheep gained weight, grew well as 4H projects, without needing much in grain foods. I do have good pasture for them, but it was visibly better after the second year with the projects in there. It got rotated so horses could graze it too, the various species like different plants to graze.
I had the understanding that horse manure was pretty close to NPK analysis as dairy or beef cow manure, although that can differ depending if you are considering it on a fresh or dry weight basis - https://ag.umass.edu/crops-dairy-livestock-equine/fact-sheets/plant-nutrients-from-manure
I’d be a bit cautious about applying sawdust or wood bedding - while it is taking longer to break down, with its very high C:N ratio, the microbes that are trying to break down that sawdust and turn it into organic matter are needing to use nitrogen from the soil environment, thus preventing that N from being available to crop growth. You need to add additional N to create an environment where microbes can break it down and benefit the soil while supporting crop growth needs.
I work in the agriculture field (feed sales, but for a farmers’ cooperative). We have been warned that fertilizer prices will be astronomical this year. Yes, I expect this will impact hay prices substantially. Plan accordingly.
the primary reason is China has forbid the export of phosphate and urea exports until June 2022 .(or who knows when)
China is the world’s leading producer phosphate and urea used in fertilizers
Also China has bought up most all the grain crops world wide for 2022, so expect your grocery bill to about double or more
My fertilizer guy talks to me about the soil tests, what I need in fertilizer to produce grasses in pasture and hayfields. I ask questions! He tells me I have plenty of soil with nitrogen, but with the sawdust bedding using nitrogen to break down, that what I need is lime to “free up” more soil nitrogen that plant roots can take advantage of. Providing organic matter by mowing pastures returns minerals to the soil wit cut pieces. Horse grazing removes some of the minerals grasses provide, so animal body can use them. Horse manure returns what minerals horse didn’t need to the soil This is where fertilizing returns lost minerals from grazing or removing hay grasses in bales, to the soils, bringing them up to full productivity again.
Tamara in Tennessee, a hay producer posting on here, always recommended soil testing and fertilizing after each cutting, for best hay possible. I can’t do that, but we do a good job keeping the land happy to produce good grass! I was really glad she shared so much good information!! I have used it over the years.
What bit of Nitrogen I apply is in the form of Ammonium Sulphate, a product that does not vaporize. Urea will vaporize if rain does not come down quickly after application. Vaporizing happens pretty fast after application, causes you wasted money laying down Urea for your nitrogen source.
Husband the Farrier, was adamant about not using Urea for fertilizing, after seeing some client horses suffering the effects of Urea poisoning. Most had to be put down. All hooved animals can get Urea poisoning, so don’t think only horses are affected if you have other livestock.
I found the pricing to be fairly close on the Ammonium Sulphate and Urea, so it did not cost me more to use. I just keep repeating “No Urea” to the various guys at the fertilizer plant as they make up my order.
Our cattle and sheep got the same hay as horses, minimum grain to just keep them friendly, yet their field was visibly greener, thicker plants after 2 years of project animals grazing it. As a gardener I can buy cow manure fertilizer, but never horse manure in bags at garden centers. I would think if horses were as beneficial they would bag and sell the manure. They sterilize the cow manure, so it is not a question of introducing seeds like when going straight from stall to garden. Looking at the manure while cleaning stalls, our cow poop, sheep poop, never had any grain in it like horse poop often does. Something in evolution gave both species such different digestive systems for a good reason.