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dee 10-03-2011 12:17 PM

Griping about feed costs
 
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!

MHFoundation Quarters 10-03-2011 12:25 PM

Doing a rain dance for ya!

I feel for everyone going through that right now. We had the opposite this year and had too much rain in the spring, drowning the hay fields. I am so thankful we do our own & it's on higher ground with good drainage. We put up enough for ours and a bit extra but nowhere near our normal average.

You should get a group of folks together & find someone with a flatbed hauler and truck it in. Small squares (75 lbs) of grass (tim/orchard) are going for $3, alfalfa mix $3.50 and straight alfalfa $4 around my neck of the woods.

dee 10-03-2011 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MHFoundation Quarters (Post 1190182)
You should get a group of folks together & find someone with a flatbed hauler and truck it in. Small squares (75 lbs) of grass (tim/orchard) are going for $3, alfalfa mix $3.50 and straight alfalfa $4 around my neck of the woods.

Some friends tried that - got took for over $5,000 collectively. Hay "dealer" sold them the hay, but never delivered it. Another friend bought an entire load of hay...only to find it full of trash after it was delivered. It was apparently "right of way hay." So full of trash and garbage that she had to throw over half of it out. She's in real trouble, now. She took out a loan to get the hay in the first place, and doesn't have the cash reserves to buy more hay, and doesn't have enough hay for the winter. She's hoping to pick up some work to bring in enough cash to get more hay - she can't borrow any more $$.

Personally, I don't have the ready cash to do more than buy a bale or two at a time these days. Daughter and her hubby + 5 kids moved back in with us, so my budget is pretty well stretched to the limit.

I'm just glad I'm on the "LIST" at the feed store - meaning they will make sure to set back enough hay for me so I'll have it when I need it. I'll just have to pay through the nose for it.

I have my fingers crossed that we have a late frost this year. We have rain in the forecast, and we may get enough growth in the hay field to get a skimpy cutting if the first frost will just hold off...

MHFoundation Quarters 10-03-2011 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dee (Post 1190218)
Some friends tried that - got took for over $5,000 collectively. Hay "dealer" sold them the hay, but never delivered it. Another friend bought an entire load of hay...only to find it full of trash after it was delivered. It was apparently "right of way hay." So full of trash and garbage that she had to throw over half of it out. She's in real trouble, now. She took out a loan to get the hay in the first place, and doesn't have the cash reserves to buy more hay, and doesn't have enough hay for the winter. She's hoping to pick up some work to bring in enough cash to get more hay - she can't borrow any more $$.

That's horrible! Nothing like getting kicked while your down. I wish I had the equipment and enough excess to make a trip that way worth it.

dee 10-03-2011 01:24 PM

Yeah. Hay scams are running rampant around here. I figure I'll pay more in the long run buying it the way I do, but I am just too leary to buy hay from a total stranger running an add on craig's list.

Corporal 10-03-2011 01:41 PM

First, praying for rain for you and EVERYBODY in the SW who needs it. 2ndly, I have been following the Farmer's Almanac forecasts for several years now and I have found that they are far more accurate than NOAA. FA looks for trends in the past and factors in our current weather to make predictions. You'all are supposed to be getting some rain this winter. Here's the short-term forecast AND the long-term forecast for South Central U.S.
South Central U.S. Long Range Weather Forecast | Farmers' Almanac
2012 Long-Range Weather Forecast
It looks like November, 2011 and March, 2012 will be the heaviest precipitation months for you in the near future.
We can ALSO pray for gas prices to drop. In central IL OUR hay suppliers have been shorting us with same price/lighter square bales (40lbs/bale vs, previously, 65 lbs/bale). It's all bc of the price of gas to bale/deliver. It's ALSO a PITA to stack these looser, lighter bales. Heavier bales are baled tighter and you can fit them together better--ya know, first level east-west, 2nd level north-south, etc. With THESE lighter bales I have to make jigsaw puzzles out of them so I don't have my top stack (8-13 high) come crashing down on me sometime this winter!!

dee 10-03-2011 01:55 PM

I hear you about the lighter bales. We used to run cattle when hubby and I first got married. Round bales were a bit of a novelty back then, and we baled and fed out sqare bales to our 65 head of cattle. My father in law would bale the hay in 80 pound bales because it was faster to bale and easier to stack. Never mind that my mother in law and I were the ones that had to feed them out!

We were never so glad when father in law got that first round baler. Life was so much easier!

I am glad that the FA shows we will be getting rain this winter. It really doesn't take a lot of rain for the type of hay we grow, or to get the pasture up in decent shape. There is HOPE for the future...!

Joe4d 10-03-2011 02:00 PM

Nothing wrong with buying hay from a stranger but dont pay for it sight unseen, If I was getting it delivered I wouldn't pay till it was in the driveway ready to be unloaded, If I was picking it up I wouldnt pay until I got there and was ready to load.
SOmebody asking for money up front shoulda raised all kinds of red flags.

dee 10-03-2011 02:05 PM

I agree, Joe. I did go look at some hay, with the thought of buying it and picking it up - we could haul a few bales at a time on our flatbed trailer. Some people wouldn't let me look at the hay, some wouldn't let me pick it up, and a LOT of the hay I looked at I wouldn't feed to a cow or a goat.

We are all at the mercy of what is available on the market. At least my feed store is making good for the bad hay I bought. They are victims, too! Fortunately, they have the luxury of being BIG buyers and can give their supplier a lot of grief over the bad hay...including refusing to deal with them anymore.

Joe4d 10-03-2011 04:42 PM

I cant see any reason an honest seller wouldnt let you look at the hay before purchase or come pick it up. Last year my area was hurting for hay but everyone has plenty this year. I guess it just takes up so much room just not any money shipping it. An 18 wheeler can haul 80,000 lbs, I dont think you would fit 1600 bales of hay in a truck but even if you could it would cost $2000 in fuel to get it to OK from Va and get the truck back. That kinda blows.


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