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Winter high 5’s spin-off: The hay situation...

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    Winter high 5’s spin-off: The hay situation...

    The hay discussion on the winter high-fives thread made me curious. What’s the hay situation in your area? Availability? Price? Gonna make it through winter?

    I only buy 100 bales at a time, delivered and stacked. 50 bale minimum order with a $50 surcharge for 50-99 bales. Free delivery 100+ bales.

    I prefer alfalfa/orchard mix, but availability has been unreliable last season and this, so I switched to timothy/orchard mix, which my horses eat fine (can get alfalfa from western states ~$18/bale but 3-string bales. Don’t even consider it because too heavy for me to handle). First load delivered was 95% very soft orchard grass/5% timothy from PA but was very clean and horses very happy with it, so fine by me. Bales ~50 lbs, 8.75/bale. Second delivery much more timothy, about 50/50 from NY, bales ~55 lb., horses happy with it, slightly more waste than first load but marginal. $9.50/bale. An acquaintance of mine bought some premium timothy from the same broker from Canada for $11.75/bale. Bales ~60 lbs each.

    A local farmer sells pure alfalfa, bales about 50-60 lbs., for $6/bale. Bales are beautiful, but you have to load yourself (and subsequently unload and stack). I used to buy this hay, but not being able to store more than 125ish bales, I was usually scrambling about this time of year because more and more people have discovered him and he is running out this time of year. Easier for me to use the hay broker who delivers and stacks, even though more expensive. Less wear and tear on my body and no worry about running out of hay.

    Friend of mine with boarding business gets tractor-trailer load at a time from her hay man (grower) in PA, all orchard grass, bales ~40-45 lbs, runs $8-9/bale, grower assures her endless supply. Always clean, fragrant hay and horses don’t leave a single stem anywhere.
    "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

    #2
    Hay was good this year.
    We get straight alfalfa from a neighbor down the road.
    It sells for $9 a bale in the field.
    He makes 21 small, 60# bale bundles and brings them and his skid loader and puts them in the barn for us.
    He generally doesn't deliver.
    We bought around 400+ this summer, #10 a bale.
    Generally he has plenty in his barn he sells thru the winter at $12 a bale and you have to go get it.

    He also has big square dairy quality alfalfa some buy for horses, but most of that goes to local dairies.

    There is not any grass hay raised here, but some for sale that is hauled in in small bales, generally coastal and bigger round bales, more kinds of those.
    By the time is shipped in, they are as high as alfalfa, so most just feed alfalfa unless a horse has a special need for other.

    Comment


      #3
      Here on the west side of Washington, we get most of our hay from the east side of the state or Central Oregon. Our hay situation is generally good, but we pay higher prices because it’s imported essentially. $300+ a ton, from the hay sheds not delivered or stacked. I have to have help for my DH and I to put the 5.5 tons I get each summer in my barn. I understand that due to hemp replacing hay in Oregon, hay might become more costly and harder to find. Goody! Our local “pasture grass” hay is so high in sugar and of poor nutritional quality, I won’t feed it, so I’m stuck writing that $1500+ check each summer. And then I hope I get thru to next summer!
      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

      Comment


        #4
        There is hay available, mostly grass mixes, grass/alfalfa. You have to check it, lots of poor hay with the wet spring, not able to bale until first of July. Then 6 weeks of drought. You might find some under $6 the bale, but it will be a hunt. Lots at $7-8 the bale on Craigslist, sometimes in newspaper ads. There are hay seller sites, with detailed information, but usually mostly big bales found there. Some organic hay at premium prices, $11-12 the bale. Few around here sell by the ton except auctions. Then you have to pay high because small users want the hay, seem to have deep pockets. They attend every weekly sale since they have no storage room, need a constant supply.

        We lucked into a new seller thru a friend. The man got his grass hay up in good shape, early in June. We bought up his whole crop!! It is not pretty hay, but the horses are eating it well, look good on it. They get minimal grain. Husband said this man's hayfields are on top of hills, so they dried faster than other hay fields between rain storms. We filled in our missing quantity with last year's hay of a man wanting his barn emptied. A bit of a bargin at $4 the bale for 200 bales to feed outside. The bottom layer was moldy, stored on dirt so we couldn't use that..


        We are going to try haying ourselves this summer. We have too many horses to afford the expensive hay. Jumping from $4 in 2018 to $6 a bale in 2019 really killed our feed budget. But farmers have to at least break even on expenses or the hay supply will dry up. We might have to buy some, but we "should" be able to get a good amount put up off the 10 acre field. Planted and fertilized it this year, looking pretty nice going into winter. After all, "How hard can putting up hay be? Every one does it!" Ha ha

        A friend staying in Florida for the winter with her driving pony, is paying $17 the bale for Timothy hay!! No way I could even visit there with an equine, mine eat half a bale each, per day!

        Comment


          #5
          Goodhors- our 100-120lb orchard or Timothy bales cost us $15 to $18 bale. Some are big three string buggers. Hell to stack, but one horse eats about 60 bales a year if I have enough pasture.
          Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

          Comment


            #6
            Y'all are killing me here. I live in coastal South Carolina and the only local hay is Coastal Bermuda, which carries a pretty high risk of impaction colic. Coastal bales are available for $8.00 to $9.50 ish. Feeding Coastal scares me, so I feed Timothy, which is super hard to source and I am happy to get 50 pound bales for $14.50 each. Orchard is more plentiful, and can be bought for $12.50 and up, but unfortunately one of my horses can't tolerate it.

            Hay is the bane of my existence.

            Comment


              #7
              We have quite a good local feed company that keeps many different types of hay in stock. It is not cheap but the quality is quite good and the service is excellent - they will come pick up any hay you are not satisfied with, refund or replace, etc. They are only a few miles from us so we normally just go pick it up in small batches, maybe 25 bales at a time although if I see some particularly great hay I will sometimes have them deliver 50 bales or so, which is what I can comfortably store at one time. That is too much for me to load/unload myself without impacting my bad shoulders.

              I usually get a very nice Canadian timothy, two string bales ~50-60lbs for $13ish.
              **********
              We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
              -PaulaEdwina

              Comment


                #8
                I think the math worked out that my grass bales were $12 each delivered and stacked in the loft, and the alfalfa was ~$32. 65# for grass bales and 95# for alfalfa. I buy once a year. Having horses here is expensive! Good alfalfa was hard to find this year, but grass still seems to be available. Overall, it seems to have been a better season than last year.

                I just can't imagine not having space. 100 bales is when I start getting nervous!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Every day I thank the Powers That Be for giving me a neighbor who does hay.
                  In exchange for allowing him to store loaded wagons in my indoor I get hay at bargain basement prices.
                  In good weather he leaves me room to ride, even with up to 7 wagons in there - including 2 humongous cage wagons.
                  When it gets cold, I wuss out & he can leave wagons any which way.
                  Caveat for him is I do still on occasion turn my horses out in there & they will plunder the loaded wagons, pulling a bale or two off. They generally do not break the bales, just need to be tossed back up.

                  During haying season small squares (40-50#) of mixed orchard/timothy run around $3-5/bale.
                  Now, in the dead of Winter, local weekly auction is getting as much as $10/bale for the same hay.
                  I don't use alfalfa, so don't know what that prices at.

                  I have always bought my year's supply - some 7.5 tons - from 1st cutting & stored on pallets in my barn. Neighbor delivers & stacks for me, often when I am not even at home.
                  It lets me sleep at night when weather gets nasty & I'd otherwise have to worry about delivery & price.
                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                  Comment


                    #10
                    There's plenty of hay here this year. I pick it up myself, so usually 36-40 bales at a time. I buy orchard grass from my neighbor for $5/bale, or another local hay legend for $6. My horses prefer the $5 hay. I need another 180 bales or so to make it until the new hay is baled. That's about 5 more truckloads. I'm the one who started the hay conversation on the other thread, wishing to have a barn full for the winter all at once. It's not because I worry about finding good hay, it's mostly because I get tired of calling, arranging to buy, loading the truck, then unloading it again. I think it would be nice to have that all done at once, then just work through it for the rest of the year.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Wow, glad I have the guys I have! I pay much less than $5/bale, delivered and stacked by the hotties (seriously hot)! Never had one bad bale- EVER. Maybe 2 broken strings in 5 years.

                      They bring out whatever I like whenever, and they have 2 different types of hay to pick from.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        In CT, first cut grass Timothy mix can be had for $5 - 12 bale, depending upon vendor, quality and purchase quantities and if you want it delivered to a loft or ground floor storage. Add a buck or two for 2nd or 3rd cut.

                        Alfalfa hay gets whatever people are willing to pay for it.

                        In TX I've found pricing for coastal Bermuda ranges from $8.50 - $13 bale. Alfalfa has pretty consistently been $16 bale. These are +/- 50-60lb. bales.

                        I'm afraid I'm not much help for round bales and pricing. I refuse to feed it for my purposes. In this area of TX, hay is not at a shortage so long as you're willing to pay . 2nd cut hay in CT will start to become scarce in March or so...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Callista17 View Post
                          Wow, glad I have the guys I have! I pay much less than $5/bale, delivered and stacked by the hotties (seriously hot)! Never had one bad bale- EVER. Maybe 2 broken strings in 5 years.

                          They bring out whatever I like whenever, and they have 2 different types of hay to pick from.
                          Yeah, it's amazing how regional it is, right? When I was in the Midwest, I paid about 1/3rd what I do here, usually for better hay. Sigh!!!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Simkie View Post

                            Yeah, it's amazing how regional it is, right? When I was in the Midwest, I paid about 1/3rd what I do here, usually for better hay. Sigh!!!
                            Many of my hay guys sell to brokers. I've had 2 great farms I have gotten my hay from.

                            I know one of them say they use empty furniture trucks to haul down south to not have empty trucks driving down.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              We go through 45-55 tons of hay a year. Purchasing from 5 sources that we use every year. It helps to insure that we still get enough hay even if one source comes up short.
                              Small squares of 2nd cutting alfalfa are $450 a ton.
                              Large squares of 2nd cutting alfalfa orchard mix are $240 a ton.
                              Large squares of 1st cutting alfalfa mix is about $200.
                              First cutting round bales is approximately $150 a ton (bought $5000 at a time).
                              2nd cutting orchard round bales is about $190 a ton.
                              All in all we average $225 a ton. Don’t use many small bales of alfalfa, just for shows, large bales are easy to move around the facility and are used quickly.
                              this year was better than last year but alfalfa is scarce....I called for more small bales and the guy told me $800 a ton. 😵 I will wait til the summer. I know it can be bought cheaper and brought in from out west but I like to buy from the farmer and know where my hay is coming from.

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                I just can't imagine not having space. 100 bales is when I start getting nervous!
                                How many horses are you feeding? I start getting antsy around 30-40. However, I’m only feeding three horses (one air fern and two relatively easy keepers). Besides their grain ration, I also feed each one ~5 lbs of soaked alfalfa pellets daily, more as a way to get extra water in them. I started feeding hay in the middle of October, and I’ve been through 95 bales so far. Normally I would’ve been through more than that, but it’s been quite mild.
                                "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I'm in north Alabama, recently moved to the area, and am struggling to find a consistent supplier. Bermuda is easy to find and less expensive but I don't like feeding it, much prefer orchard, timothy, or a quality mix. Since we initially did not have adequate storage for an entire year of hay, I've had to get multiple loads. From two different suppliers, my initial loads were gorgeous soft orchard bales at $9/bale. Subsequent loads have been more expensive and were completely different than the initial load, although I was promised (prior to pickup) that it was the exact same hay. Right now, "premium" orchard is going for $9-$13/bale (60#+/- two string), but as I described, the quality isn't consistent, and some of what I have gotten definitely isn't premium. Would love to find a supplier or broker who can promise a relatively consistent product. If anyone has a lead on a quality broker who will deliver to north AL, I have plenty of storage now....just need to find good hay!

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by seabreeze View Post

                                    How many horses are you feeding? I start getting antsy around 30-40. However, I’m only feeding three horses (one air fern and two relatively easy keepers). Besides their grain ration, I also feed each one ~5 lbs of soaked alfalfa pellets daily, more as a way to get extra water in them. I started feeding hay in the middle of October, and I’ve been through 95 bales so far. Normally I would’ve been through more than that, but it’s been quite mild.
                                    Four. Hard keepers. I go through about ten ton of grass and five of alfalfa a year.

                                    I do have hay anxiety Nothing feels as great as a loft full of hay!

                                    Comment

                                      Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Simkie View Post

                                      Four. Hard keepers. I go through about ten ton of grass and five of alfalfa a year.

                                      I do have hay anxiety Nothing feels as great as a loft full of hay!
                                      I completely understand. If I had the storage, I would fill it up, too. Several years ago I had a hard-keeping 17.1 TB that nearly ate me out of house and home. Hay was scarce that year, and i ended up relying on compressed hay from Tractor Supply.
                                      "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

                                      Comment

                                        Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by flypony74 View Post
                                        Subsequent loads have been more expensive and were completely different than the initial load, although I was promised (prior to pickup) that it was the exact same hay. Right now, "premium" orchard is going for $9-$13/bale (60#+/- two string), but as I described, the quality isn't consistent, and some of what I have gotten definitely isn't premium. Would love to find a supplier or broker who can promise a relatively consistent product.
                                        That is one thing I hate about not being able to store a year’s worth at a time. I feel like there’s always the possibility of the hay not being the same (especially if buying from a broker and not a farmer) and the horses refusing it. That actually happened to me with the second load I bought this year. However, my hay guy was great about it (he guarantees his hay, he says), and he came back within two days of my call and switched it out for me.
                                        "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

                                        Comment

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