Hay is getting ridiculously expensive around here (central Oklahoma). We haven't had to buy much in the way hay for a couple of years since we started letting a friend bale in our hayfield on shares. However, this year, the drought bit us and we didn't get but two bales of hay, where we normally could count on at least 40 for our share.
So, I'm paying $100 for a 3 x 3 x 8 prairie hay at our feed store. (Same bale was about $50 last year!) This last bale we got was 90% weeds and brush - incredible! The bales supposedly weigh approximately 750 pounds, and one would normally last our bunch about four days or so. This last bale lasted only three days because there was so much crap in the bale that the horses couldn't eat. I did file a complaint at the feed store, but while they may ultimately be responsible for the quality of the hay they sell, they, too, are at the mercy of their own hay suppliers.
I'm going to have to break down and pay $120 for the same size bale of orchard grass/brome hay. Hopefully, there isn't as much brush and crap in those more expensive bales, and the hay will be of better quality.
To make things worse, our feed program mainstays - alfalfa pellets and beet pulp, have doubled in the last two months. Beet pulp has gone from $10 for a fifty pound bag to $23 for a fifty pound bag. (Guess drought and/or supply and demand have hit the beet growers, too?). Alfalfa pellets have gone from $8.50/bag to $15 for a fifty pound bag.
There is a pelleted feed we can get at the store for $9 for a fifty pound bag. It's a good feed - we had great success with it as a supplement to the hay pellets/beet pulp we fed last winter. It's a 14% protein and 6% fat feed designed for performance horses and horses that need to gain weight. (ours do after this killer summer, anyway) I fear we may have to rely much more heavily on that feed this winter, as prices are still skyrocketing around here.
I am NOT a happy horsey person right now! Especially since the weather man says our drought will likely continue through at least next June. We've been clearing brush our of our pasture and planted some grass/pasture seed. Got a little rain and the seed sprouted and looked so nice...then no rain and it all burned up. Back to square one...almost. At least the drought and heat also kept the brush we cleared out from coming back too fast.
Okay - I'll quit griping now. We are trying to think positive, and are hoping that we get at leat enough rain over the winter to replant some winter grass, and maybe some bermuda/pasture mix gain come spring. Maybe by then feed prices will come back down, too?
Keep your fingers crossed!