We're in Colorado, and my quarter horse is pretty much grazing all day right now, but in the winter he will need a ton of hay.
Would it be beneficial to stock up on hay now for the winter, or would it be a waste? We have a loft above the barn, so I don't have to worry about moisture. I'm mainly concerned with critters and birds.
I agree! Get it while you can! (and its cheaper :P ) Usually in our area there is pleanty to be had....BUT a couple winters ago there was a shortage...not good.
I reserve round bales (6 but I can get more if necessary) we usually go thru 1/month with free choice ( if they don't pee all over it)and grain in the evening. For 2 horses. Winter here isn't severe at all. Our average temp is like 41-43 degrees. Dec, Jan and Feb are the only rough months.
If it is harsher where you live, i'd get more. Feeding more hay in the winter helps with keeping your horses warmer. ( I don't know how...that's just what I was taught)
Its a gamble to wait till you need it. We usually buy right after its baled. Sometimes you pay more sometimes less then if you wait till winter. If there is a shortage the price can go very high. If there is a surplus you can pick it up pretty cheap. So many of the hay producers here ship all over the country so its really hard to tell what its going to do or if they will run out by late winter/fall.
Last summer round bales where going for $50-70 each, by fall the same bales could be had for $25-35. You just never know which way its going to go. The year before we paid $35 a bale, by late winter it was up to $80
The season to start stalking up on hay started last month, so yes you should be buying hay now for the winter.
Calculate how much hay your horse is going to need per day and times it by the length of months you have your winters for :)