I just hit the local 'crap' auction last week to see what I could find for hay, and what the prices are.
Round bales, appx 1200 lbs, of the worst hay I've ever seen, not sure I would feed it to a cow: $170/bale
Last spring, $15/bale for the really poor stuff, $25 for good horse hay
Local Prairie grass small bales, 50 lbs, full of seed heads and weeds: $9.50/bale
I quit feeding local prairie grass because the farmers cut too low and it's dusty, full of trash and weeds and has these little STICKER things that get in your clothes and you might as well just throw them out when you're done feeding because you'll never get all the junk out. Last spring was selling for $2 or less/bale.
LOCAL alafalfa which means possibility of blister beetles: $13/bale
Out of state alfalfa = no blister beetles: $16/bale
Both alfalfas were 50 lb bales
12 bales of Orchard grass (we normally can't even get that down here): $12/bale, 50 lb bales
Nice clean Bermuda grass, 50 lb bales: $15/bale
I bought all the ought of state alfalfa, the orchard grass and about 50 bermuda bales just for insurance and to try to avoid the price of buying a 4th truck load this season.
10 alfalfa = $160
12 orchard = $144
50 bermuda = $750
Total = $1050
Last year the alfalfa might have cost me $60, I wouldn't have gotten the orchard and the bermuda would have cost me about $3/bale so $150, total $210. I bought a total of 72 bales of hay which will last me abut 14 days.
On top of that, I buy 2 pallets of Strategy per month at $16/bag, $1280 total and then there's salt which is $5/50lb bag, I use 2 of those.
Bulk shavings when I can get them are around $450 truckload and I'll use a truckload/month, if I can't get them then I have to buy bagged by the pallet at $7/bag, $350/pallet and I'll use 2 pallets just to rebed all the stalls after I strip and another pallet for freshening throughout the month.
I use 12 round bales per month, $2040 total
Oh and my water bill is $300/month
Utilities are for barn ops only, not for my house or personal use.
Barn help: $1200/worker
So....too just keep 1 boarded horse here COSTS: appx $576/month and that's with being able to buy BULK shavings, not palletized. I suppose I could feed less or not keep the stalls as clean and not strip out monthly, or not allow the boarders to bathe their horses.....but other than that, not sure where I could cut costs and still maintain the level of care I want to provide and the boarders expect. On the months I can't get a truckload of shavings, I eat the difference, I don't raise my fees.
So, do I do like most barns and cut the Strategy and tell you that from now on you have to provide your own grain? Or do you prefer the convenience that I provide everything and you only write 1 check/month and don't have to go to the feed store? And if I cut the grain, will you really see that much savings because then my barn workers have to feed different horses different types of feed in different amounts, and that will take longer so my costs will go up?
Where can YOU suggest I cut back to avoid a rate hike, what level of care can you live with if I start cutting things? I'd love to be able to make some money again, as you can see, there's not any profit in what I'm doing right now.