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View Full Version : Hay looks to be high-priced this summer!!



Calvincrowe
Apr. 21, 2011, 07:13 PM
If you depend on hay from Oregon or Washington, especially orchard grass/alfalfa from the central area, look for slim supplies and high prices. Wheat is the new, hot crop that hay farmers are plowing their fields under for, since it is running $8/bushel--that equates to a profit of $75 acre for hay vs. $150/acre for wheat. You can't really blame them, but what a hit for PNW (and Cali) horse owners.

Just read a scary article that many hay farmers are switching over and that hay will be running $30-$50 more a ton, if you can find it! Super. Add in fuel costs, and I guess I'll be looking for hay closer to home. I hope my hay guy can find enough for all his clients, and not cause heart attacks in the process of telling us how much it'll cost.

Yikes!!

coloredcowhorse
Apr. 21, 2011, 08:59 PM
If you depend on hay from Oregon or Washington, especially orchard grass/alfalfa from the central area, look for slim supplies and high prices. Wheat is the new, hot crop that hay farmers are plowing their fields under for, since it is running $8/bushel--that equates to a profit of $75 acre for hay vs. $150/acre for wheat. You can't really blame them, but what a hit for PNW (and Cali) horse owners.

Just read a scary article that many hay farmers are switching over and that hay will be running $30-$50 more a ton, if you can find it! Super. Add in fuel costs, and I guess I'll be looking for hay closer to home. I hope my hay guy can find enough for all his clients, and not cause heart attacks in the process of telling us how much it'll cost.

Yikes!!

Already gone from $60/big bale (1250 lbs) first cutting alfalfa last spring field price to $85/big bale until about 3 months ago to now $135-145/big bale now. Predicted field price this summer...$200/ton. Half the horse herd is for sale.

vineyridge
Apr. 21, 2011, 09:05 PM
everything is going to be more expensive this summer. Things are looking really, really bad. Pretty soon, the only hay available here with that grown on the Mississippi Levees, and it's just mixed grass. Not good at all.

UrbanHennery
Apr. 21, 2011, 09:07 PM
Yeah Calvin, I'm up north of you. I'm tight on hay this spring because I fed an unplanned third horse for 2 months - I'm just hoping the grass finally starts to grow in the next month or I'll be out.

I've got a lead on a load of 2010 second cut orchard grass (what I feed) for $300/ton and I'm tempted to buy every bale I need to get through to next year. I'm guessing it's only going to get more expensive in the next few months. Unless it doesn't and then I'm going to be kicking myself.

Anyone have an opinion on whether it's bad to feed hay that's been well stored but would be 2 years old by the time I fed it all? I'm feeding a few bales of 2009 hay right now that somehow got buried at the back of the loft. They boys certainly aren't complaining.

hosspuller
Apr. 21, 2011, 10:07 PM
Yeah
Anyone have an opinion on whether it's bad to feed hay that's been well stored but would be 2 years old by the time I fed it all? I'm feeding a few bales of 2009 hay right now that somehow got buried at the back of the loft. They boys certainly aren't complaining.

These folks do ... http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu/Symposium/1998/Evaluating%20Hay%20for%20Horses.htm


Myth or Reality? "Hay that has been stored in the barn for a year or more has lost its nutrient value" Myth! As long as hay has been stored in a dry environment, it is suitable for feeding for a long time after harvest. The amounts of energy, protein, calcium and phosphorus in a bale of hay in dry storage are basically the same after 2 years of storage as they are after 2 months of storage. One nutrient that does change with storage is vitamin A. However the greatest loss of vitamin A activity occurs right after harvest, and the amount of change from 6 months to a year or more is relatively small. Long term storage may increase dryness of hay. Hay that is very dry will be brittle and sustain more leaf shatter, so wastage during feeding may go up. Hay that has been stored for a long time may also have an increased level of dustiness, probably due to the increased dryness.

Calvincrowe
Apr. 21, 2011, 10:22 PM
If I could find decent 2010 orchard/alfalfa I'd buy it now, but there isn't much left in C. Oregon. The real issue for horsemen is that very little info on this switch to wheat is getting out...it will be a total shock to many here.

Local hay in the Portland/Vancouver area is pretty awful, there is some good stuff down the Willamette valley, but unless it is purposely grown, it pretty much is "pasture grass". Those who want hay with some nutrition buy hay grown east of the mountains.

I'm wishing I knew a decent farmer in the Goldendale/Lyle area or around the Dalles....anybody have leads on small hay farmers in the eastern Gorge??

I love my hay guy, and he tries hard to find bargains. He buys quite a bit of hay out of Umatilla/Boardman, instead of around Madras/Redmond. But, I'm sure they are planting wheat, too.

I hope bread prices come down, but I know this is all soft winter wheat, headed for export. Sigh...

UrbanHennery
Apr. 22, 2011, 01:27 AM
Yeah, we're waiting to hear if my husband's company won a big project they bid on. If they did I'll be getting my 7 tons delivered ASAP. If they didn't he could be on furlough again for a bit, but I may still go ahead and get at least a few tons now.

Diamondindykin
Apr. 22, 2011, 01:59 AM
I live up in Whatcom county and my hay hasn't increased in 3 years and I don't expect a huge increase, if any this year. I have bought my hay from the same guy for almost 11 years. Hay prices have been pretty stable in my area. I am talking about local hay not hay from E. Washington.

TrueColours
Apr. 22, 2011, 10:07 AM
Wth our cold wet weather we are having up our way (Ontario, Canada) spring seems to have forgotten to have arrived, so they are predicting a hay shortage up our way as well

I have about 45 acres planted and was thinking of renting some of that out and buying hay instead. I think based on what is happening and what we are hearing, I'll leave it planted in hay and what I dont need I'll sell instead

yes - will be very very scary going forward for sure with fuel costs up and everything else rising as well

Heinz 57
Apr. 25, 2011, 07:16 PM
I'm wishing I knew a decent farmer in the Goldendale/Lyle area or around the Dalles....anybody have leads on small hay farmers in the eastern Gorge??


Calvin, this may not be what you're looking for (or an avenue you've already explored), but have you checked with Stauffers dairy on Blair? I used to live just a few feet down the road from them and bought a few tons one summer, but that was about five years ago.

I'm about to make a call to the local guy I bought from over the winter to see what he has left. Fingers crossed - even some of the feed stores have run out around here.

Calvincrowe
Apr. 26, 2011, 01:28 AM
Heinz- Stauffers is my "hay guy"--I've bought from Gary for years now!! He had some 3rd cut orchard in a couple of weeks ago, for $300/ton--and he said it was the last he could find!! I buy all of my year's hay (5 tons) in July from him. I like that he's close, reliable and will guarantee his hay.

My SIL buys from a guy in Hood River, but the hay is a bit coarse and is just "local" (though it is farmed, not just cut from whatever grows--I think they call it meadow grass) and my old boys won't eat it.

I'm getting nervous about availability. Mr. CC's family is from Central/Eastern WA, and I dearly wish one of them would sell me hay (a few are ranchers), but getting it here in quantity, with fuel prices is the killer.

JoZ
Apr. 26, 2011, 01:43 AM
I have had two different sources of local (Western WA) hay tested and overall I'm pleased with the results. Our horses are, for the most part, easy keepers. I'd rather get alfalfa to supplement the harder keepers as needed.

That said, I do need an alfalfa source! Started out we could get a few bales from the feed store but now we have enough horses that eat it for me to want to stockpile some at a cheaper price. Guess that's where I'll feel the wheat pinch... :no:

UrbanHennery
Apr. 26, 2011, 02:01 AM
I got an email from my regular hay dealer and she seems confident that she'll be able to supply my 7 tons this summer - only question will be price, which she won't know until closer to when they cut.

One can only hope that when spring/summer finally arrive they bring good hay making weather with them.

foggybok
Apr. 26, 2011, 02:55 AM
there is still a lot of local hay available around here from last year... cheap too. Since it works well for my easy keepers (it is actually preferable as they balloon up on the good stuff), I'll probably buy up the 3.00 a bale stuff......

the new stuff coming in from eastern WA is really pricey...

I do have a local guy that puts up hay that rivals the Eastern WA stuff for quality, so I hope he has a good year. He is almost out of last years now.... I'll buy my winter supply from him....

howardh
Apr. 26, 2011, 08:13 AM
I have posted this before, but my friend is on the National Hay Board, and our big buddy China is buying up all the West Coast hay it can. It has U.S. dollars to spend and we have nice hay.

This coupled with rising prices for all grains will mean really nasty hay prices this year. I would buy all I can right now if you can find it.

Another kick to the belly of the horse industry.

Tamara in TN
Apr. 26, 2011, 08:25 AM
do you mean national hay association ? we do not have a national hay board in the USA

as for China...the pacific rim as a whole buys a great deal of hay for it dairy cattle not just "our big buddy china" but the entire rim.

and part of the big hay drama 2 years ago was the west coast exporters got a little too big for their britches in pricing their hay and the pacific rim went to Australia and Argentina

(and rightly so)

west coast exporters are a tiny bit of the overall hay market and have almost 0 effect on buyers/sellers/growers E of the Rockies

Tamara

howardh
Apr. 26, 2011, 10:33 AM
I thought the person despairing over hay WAS west of the Rockies, not east:)

Calvincrowe
Apr. 26, 2011, 11:52 AM
Howardh- while not despairing over hay, I'm very aware of the export market here in the PNW. The 'big guys' contract for the foreign market (hay is compressed, shrink wrapped and shipped to all the Asian countries who'll buy). We've had the perfect storm of negative market forces this year:

1. drought in Russia meant no wheat harvest, so WA sold all they could overseas, driving up the prices to $12/bushel currently-- hay guys are cashing in by switching over.

2. floods in Australia. See above for this year.

3. China needs hay. Perpetually.

4. record high fuel prices drive up diesel and fertilizers. Hay prices go up accordingly.

5. our wet, cold spring is not making hay season on the west side of the Cascades look good...let's hope it dries out by the end of June!

I'm hoping that our "hay guys" still have good farms to go to on the east side. I'm prepared to pay top dollar, but it totally shrank my show and home improvement budget.

Heinz 57
Apr. 26, 2011, 12:14 PM
Hey Calvin... I don't know how soon you were looking to buy, but I ran across a couple numbers in the Vancouver/Brush Prairie area that appear to have eastern orchard/alf right now.

My problem, personally is that I'm only allowed enough space in the shop to store about two tons, three if I push the limits and edge over my 'allowed' space - so my ability to 'stock up' is pretty much nil. Otherwise, I would've bought out my alfalfa guy in January when he was only asking $160/ton.

leilatigress
Apr. 26, 2011, 12:46 PM
Hay down in the belt of Texas is going to be interesting. Grandfather usually has his first cut already done by now and it's about 1/2 the height needed to bail. But it doesn't mean he won't still get the usual 4 or 5 cuttings he normally does later in the year just really depends on the rain. His is 100% coastal but he only round bales and it's normally sold in the field.
Quick google search yielded this http://www.hayexchange.com/tx.php
When I clicked on the Bale Price Calculator I got this
Bale Type Average Price
Small Square Bales (not Alfalfa) 4.51
Small Square Bales (Alfalfa) 6.47
Big Rounds (all types) 38.21
Hay Per Ton (not Alfalfa) 119.19
Alfalfa Per Ton 162.85
Not sure how current it is but it seems to be on par though I remember 2.00 a bale not even 10 years ago in the field.

coloredcowhorse
Apr. 26, 2011, 01:03 PM
Same info down here in northern NV....ranchers at breakfast are grinning from ear to ear as they talk about the contracts they already have signed for $200/ton-in-field price for hay for shipping to China. There is NO local hay available right now and if weather cooperates first cutting alfalfa will be done Memorial Day....drove down the valley a couple days ago and fields are green and growing despite some night time frosting still. First flood of the fields with irrigation water has already been done and plants are about 5-6 inches tall. Warm daytimes (except for this last couple days) have been helping. The problem is that $200/ton field price is up....a lot....from $80-90/ton price a year ago. Most recent hay bought was 3 bales (1250 lbs) of alfalfa....$135/bale and I went to get it (comes to $216/ton not including cost of hauling). Last summer the same hay was $60/bale delivered ($80/ton delivered). I go through about 5-6 tons a month in the summer and 7-8 in the winter. This means roughly 80-90 tons a year...if local field price is $200 that's $16-18K for hay when last year was $6200-7200 (and that was with delivery). Feed stores had theirs marked up about 100%. If this looks to be true for this year there will be a lot more owners unable to feed and a lot more horses on the market and going through sales/auctions.

foggybok
Apr. 26, 2011, 03:09 PM
do you mean national hay association ? we do not have a national hay board in the USA

as for China...the pacific rim as a whole buys a great deal of hay for it dairy cattle not just "our big buddy china" but the entire rim.

and part of the big hay drama 2 years ago was the west coast exporters got a little too big for their britches in pricing their hay and the pacific rim went to Australia and Argentina

(and rightly so)

west coast exporters are a tiny bit of the overall hay market and have almost 0 effect on buyers/sellers/growers E of the Rockies

Tamara

Yup, had to laugh, all of a sudden we had so much hay out here they didn't know what to do with it....but unfortunately it didn't drop the prices that much...they just cut back on production......

vineyridge
Apr. 26, 2011, 03:26 PM
In Mississippi we feed mostly bermuda grass hay.

In 2005 and 2006 I paid $3.50 per bale for hybrid, irrigated, fertilized, etc. bales that averaged 60 lbs or so--maybe 65. traveled 75 miles to get it at the farm. This year, I paid $6 or $6.50 for equivalent hay at the same weight, some from a co-op and some directly from a different farm, and I had to travel 60 miles to the farm to get it--and 60 miles back. The co-op hay was the $6.50 hay.

I also got some nice, but very loosely packed bermuda hay for $4 per bale this year, but they weighed about 40 lbs--maybe a bit less. It was less than 30 miles one way to pick up. So the 2010 or 2011 price seems at farm level here to work out to about $2 per 20 lbs. Add the fuel price and the actual price is higher.

Mosey_2003
Apr. 26, 2011, 04:16 PM
God I love living in IL. Already locked in at $4/bale 2nd cutting alfalfa this summer, the best he can get right out of the field. Course, doesn't hurt the kid's an old school chum with a bit of a crush... I don't know how you guys out west/northwest do it.

Calvincrowe
Apr. 26, 2011, 05:47 PM
Mosey- the best part is the bales we get out of Central Oregon run right about 120 pounds. Those are so fun to stack! Not...

How much do those bales you get weigh? Our bales go for around $10-12 each, for both alfalfa and grass.

We do have local hay that runs around $3-5 for 65lb. bale, but it is not always of good quality, so it's kind of "filler". It is hard to get farmed, nutritious local grass hay, as we just aren't rural enough around here.

foundationmare
Apr. 26, 2011, 08:10 PM
The prices you all are quoting blow my mind, but I live in a very agrarian area in central NY surrounded by farmers' fields (which, sadly, are being increasingly transformed into ugly subdivisions) and our prices are, for the most part, reasonable. My hay supplier and his family are worth their weight in gold. Good quality timothy hay, huge bales, delivered and stacked for $4.50. I'm very, very lucky.

The big concern for this year is the very wet April we've had, resulting in waterlogged fields that are a long way from being planted. Looking forward to some price hikes and reduced availability in short order.

foggybok
Apr. 26, 2011, 09:30 PM
Mosey- the best part is the bales we get out of Central Oregon run right about 120 pounds. Those are so fun to stack! Not...

How much do those bales you get weigh? Our bales go for around $10-12 each, for both alfalfa and grass.

We do have local hay that runs around $3-5 for 65lb. bale, but it is not always of good quality, so it's kind of "filler". It is hard to get farmed, nutritious local grass hay, as we just aren't rural enough around here.

My husband does not like when I come home with those....the last batch was 135 each.... I have a system where I slide them from truck to cart and roll them onto the stack... I much prefer the free delivery from the local guy that puts up GREAT hay.... He used to have a dairy, so he knows how to make good hay!

Mosey_2003
Apr. 27, 2011, 09:15 AM
Mosey- the best part is the bales we get out of Central Oregon run right about 120 pounds. Those are so fun to stack! Not...

How much do those bales you get weigh? Our bales go for around $10-12 each, for both alfalfa and grass.

Actually, I don't know how much they're gonna weigh yet :confused: Last year I got royally screwed by a guy that comes through my work promising all summer that he had hay for me and then, mid-way through September when I finally wrangled his phone number from someone, he "didn't think he'd have enough, sorry" :mad: So I ended up scrounging and got a mixed load of half first cutting/half second cutting alfalfa mix from one of the farmers but that cost me $4.50. But, knowing this guy they'll probably be insanely heavy, he doesn't do anything halfway. We were hanging out in his cow barn last year (how redneck :lol: ) though and I gotta say, he sure does put up purdy hay :cool: