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Hay looks to be high-priced this summer!!

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  • Hay looks to be high-priced this summer!!

    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!!
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
    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.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
      Thread killer Extraordinaire

      Comment


      • #4
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by UrbanHennery View Post
          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...r%20Horses.htm


          [FONT=TmsRmn]Myth or Reality?[/FONT][FONT=TmsRmn] "Hay that has been stored in the barn for a year or more has lost its nutrient value" [/FONT][FONT=TmsRmn]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.[/FONT]
          Equus makus brokus but happy

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            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...
            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                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.
                RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
                May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
                RIP San Lena Peppy
                May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010

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                • #9
                  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
                  www.TrueColoursFarm.com
                  www.truecoloursproducts.com

                  True Colours Farm on Facebook

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                    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.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      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.
                      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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...
                        Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
                        Starman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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....
                            Turn off the computer and go ride!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                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
                                Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I thought the person despairing over hay WAS west of the Rockies, not east

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    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.
                                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      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.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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.
                                        Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                        Originally Posted by alicen:
                                        What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

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