WOW! Hay prices are through the roof again! (Rant) - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
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post #41 of 69 Old 03-24-2019, 06:51 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Southern California
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Well my bargain hay turned out not to be a bargain at all, I have to return it. This is the problem with my area, I don't have to store it, but I never know the quality until I open a bale. There is no way of doing hay testing.

I paid 28 for orchard and 31 for timothy.
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post #42 of 69 Old 03-24-2019, 08:29 PM
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I'm a horse owner and small time hay producer. Last year on the US East Coast was extremely wet which wasn't good for quality hay production. I think much of the Mid West had similar conditions and I'm sure there were other areas with drought conditions too. Hay storage cost money and I end up emptying and refilling my barns 2-3 times to store my production. My customers are those who have their own storage. They get a quality product at a good price because they take it in season and I get to reuse my barn space. If I'm left with anything into the fall it's lower quality hay that my regular customers didn't want. There is also value in selling and being paid for hay in season when I have fuel, labor, repair and other expenses. Finally, when a wide spread area has production problems and hay needs to be brought in there are transportation costs. Hay is a bulky rather low value commodity so transportation costs can be a large part of the total costs. In short, hay sold in the winter and spring should cost more. There are years when there is a glut of hay and prices don't go up. I would encourage anyone in an area with a local hay supply to consider their own hay storage for their winter supply. You'll likely get a better supply of higher quality hay at a better price. I'm hearing $9-11 per bale at dealers for 40-50# 2 string bales which is almost double the in season price. There is no local hay left so it must be brought in from other areas. Even if I didn't grow my own hay I'd buy it early in season so that I could be sure that I had the hay I need.
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post #43 of 69 Old 03-24-2019, 08:42 PM
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Up here in NY we had a very wet year last year so most farmers are selling out very quickly of the 50# square bales. The farmer I use is kind enough to store the hay we need for the year in a section of one of his warehouses for free but even he just let us know that we may need to find someone else.

What is odd is even with the local shortage, the prices are still running $3.50 a bale.
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post #44 of 69 Old 03-24-2019, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Chevaux View Post
I am curious about this, please. How many of you are in a position that you can basically buy a whole year’s supply at once ( ie have the room and/or be able to safely store it)? If you can do this, does this give you the ability to get the best price assuming you can wait for that time to happen? If you cannot do it, do you think that the difference between best price and no-other-option price would be financially justifiable to build or rearrange your yard to let it happen and recoup costs in the foreseeable future? Where I am there is not a really hay dealing system that is set up for partial orders.
I buy by the season -- there is NO discount for buying 300 small squares at a time. With one horse IR and the other could go that way, I buy from the best grower in my county and pay the price -- $7.75/50# bales last year.

We can no longer hump hay, so it cost another .75/ bale to have kids come to the farm and stack the hay.. The day I get a season's worth of hay in the barn, I start saving for the next season as being retired puts me in a fixed income.

The hay tested 8.2% NSC which is great. However, 2018 hay was on the stemmy side everywhere, due to all the rain we had and this year we have had even more rain.

As @SwissMiss alluded to, I look for 2019 hay to skyrocket thanks to Nebraska being under water.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see Standlee company, possibly stop producing their bagged forage this year (or part of the year), to make hay forage for those ranchers who have lost everything -----

Provided their thousands of acres on the Idaho/Utah border have stayed above water.

These massive floods and snow melting are going to affect a lot more people than just those who are literally flooded out. People need to start planning financially right now for the coming hay and feed season, as I see prices of everything escalating not only for the livestock but our house animals and ourselves.
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post #45 of 69 Old 03-25-2019, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post

These massive floods and snow melting are going to affect a lot more people than just those who are literally flooded out. People need to start planning financially right now for the coming hay and feed season, as I see prices of everything escalating not only for the livestock but our house animals and ourselves.

Hay producers here feel there's not enough money in hay, especially square bales. Our supplier from this past summer only does it because he runs a large boarding facility and has the land, so he bales what he can get without putting too much work into it (no fertilizer or pesticides), keeps what he needs, and sells the rest as a bi-product.

Even though we're far away from these flood zones, we feel the effects of higher hay prices in the US. I expect hay prices will remain high this summer (they have gone up a bit in the last two years), and if we don't have a fantastic growing season, they may go up more.

In terms of feeding ourselves, the price of produce is going up every year and there is no expectation that this trend will change, therefore we have been planting an extensive garden and freezing/canning vegetables. They are most welcome, especially this time of year. We've also re-discovering a lot of winter vegetables (turns out my kids love cabbage and squash!).

Horse ownership is about to get even more expensive everywhere I think.
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post #46 of 69 Old 03-25-2019, 09:10 AM
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Here if you buy hay off the feilds you get a big price reduction per bale. Guy were going to buy big rounds from will sells bales for 25$ a bale at least to us any way. Think he charges 30$ to 35$ to everyone else. South of here prices are way higher per bale. There is only one farmer who does square bales around here. Everyone else only do round bales.

Hubby talked to him about hay already price will be 25$ a bale. He doesn't depend on the hay sales for his income.

Last edited by rambo99; 03-25-2019 at 09:17 AM.
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post #47 of 69 Old 03-25-2019, 09:18 AM
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We produce most of our own hay and pay someone to bale it for us. Our fist crop was about 600 bales of hard stems and some alfalfa leaves. Am I feeding it? You bet! It is what I have and our second and third crops were better and bales at better times but our fields starting getting foxtail. And as horseowner I would not normally feed anything with foxtail. Am I feeding it? Yep. My horses get enough hay that I can feed enough that they happily leave the less desirable. Including the worst of the stems and foxtail.

I see ads in my local area of people complaining about foxtail in the hay and bashing hay producers for selling hay like that. Guess what? 2018 was a horrible year for hay and as those above have said - small square bales are a low profit high labor crop - high school boys that bale hay are in short supply. So many farmers just don't square bale. And when clients start bashing you on the web and returning hay that you worked hard for - then you just decide not to sell hay.

I am not saying we should all feed low quality hay but as horse owners we need to be aware that hay is a crop and as a crop it is affected by weather both during the growing season and at harvest. Some years you may get a lot of weeks and some years a lot of stems. You can supplement the short comings in the hay with supplements and buy bagged forage if need be.

Be kind to your producers - they are not becoming millionaires off of the few bales they are selling you.
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post #48 of 69 Old 03-25-2019, 10:56 AM
Green Broke
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You're right there. I'm having a real run of bad luck and tossing a lot of hay. I only expect to be reimbursed for unopened bales.

Yea, it's been crazy! I'm having to pick through all the hay right now for anything good.
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post #49 of 69 Old 03-25-2019, 11:28 AM
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The funny thing I've learned about mine this winter is that they seem to like the dry, hard, stemmy, weedy 1st cut stuff more than the soft, green, luscious 2nd cut bales I pull out on the really cold, stormy nights. We seem able to hold about 400-500 small squares in our loft (~45lbs/square), which I thought would be enough for three horses this winter. But, since it snowed in early November and the pastures have been covered in snow since (and still look to be for another few weeks at least), I ended up ordering a mid-winter load of 250 more bales. That has allowed us to put aside the worst looking first cut bales and we will have plenty left over into the summer. It's the first winter having horses here at home so I probably panicked a little bit in late January when we started in on the third row of bales in the loft Unfortunately our summer/fall was like what @carshon described so the guy I intended to use could give us barely 100 bales and I had to go to a second farmer for the rest. He didn't have the best reputation for quality around, but it seemed like there was really no other option- and, he delivered when he said he would, with really nice guys who filled the loft, so while the quality could be better to my eye, the horses don't seem to care at all!

Oh, prices...I think the first farmer's first cut (nicer quality) was $5.25/bale delivered. The second farmer's first cut was $5.75/bale delivered and second cut was $6.50/bale delivered. We don't have a vehicle to go do pick up out of a field so delivered is a necessity.
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post #50 of 69 Old 03-25-2019, 11:28 AM
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The hay we get sometimes is good on a good year for hay. Last two summers have been rainy. So late cut poor quality hay. Horse's have no choice but to eat it nothing better to feed them.

I totally get it's dependant on weather, not much farmers can do if weather is crummy. I'm just glad to get my years worth of hay. We always give the guy a extra 100$ for a tip. He doesn't charge to deliver the hay 2 to 3 loads.
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