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marketeye
Veteran Advisor

Hay prices stack up

In some areas of the Midwest, hay prices have doubled vs. a year ago.

 

Hay experts tell me that acreage shifts cause hay shortage.

 

Mike

 

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10 Replies
jrsiajdranch
Veteran Advisor

Re: Hay prices stack up

They have doubled but they still do not compare to average corn ground returns.  I think that hay could move higher especially if milk goes up.

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GoredHusker
Senior Contributor

Re: Hay prices stack up

Hay prices didn't double because of acreage shifts.  Hay prices doubled because of the ongoing drought in Texas and surrounding areas.  In my lifetime, I have rarely ever seen round bales moved as far as they've been moving the past three to four months.  I've seen flatbed trailer after flatbed trailer coming out of the Dakotas heading south.  I talked to a guy just east of Great Bend, KS.  He told me in August that alfalfa was $350 a ton picked up at the field.  At that time, alfalfa here was around $150-$180.  There's been so much hay leave this area that a blizzard could potentially cause a huge herd liquidation here. 

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marketeye
Veteran Advisor

Re: Hay prices stack up

GoredHusker,

 

You are right. I was told that normally round grass hay bales don't go too far in any given market. Mainly, that hay just moves farmer-to-farmer, locally or regionally. And for that reason, prices don't jump too high. However, as you mention, that rule-of-thumb is out the window this year.

 

Mike

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John_Walter
Advisor

Re: Hay prices stack up

Talked yesterday with Steve Fransen, a forage crop expert at Washington State University. He did attribute acreage shifts to corn and winter wheat in the Pacific Northwest for price rises of hay in that region. He said alfalfa was selling for $240/ton, about $100 more than 18 months ago.

 

We further discussed the need for closer visual evaluation of hay quality at these prices.

 

Keys, he said, include the functionality of the package (shape, density, structure, spacing & position of ties), maturity stage, presence of foreign material, odor, texture, conditon, and color. 

 

Here's a link to the full story: How to ID a blue ribbon bale of hay.  -- John

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jrsiajdranch
Veteran Advisor

Re: Hay prices stack up

John a friend of mine from washington State has told me that average quality hay out there is now 50dollars mora a ton than his 40% protien mix!

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John_Walter
Advisor

Re: Hay prices stack up

J.R.: That's amazing. I wonder what the primo stuff is selling for? You wonder if growing some high-quality alfalfa might be a good business these days?

 

. -- JW

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Nebrfarmr
Veteran Advisor

Re: Hay prices stack up

I agree.  We were selling our 'excess' hay as the price went up, and then it turned hot and dry, and more or less burned up our last cutting (on a field where we got 150 1st cutting bales, and 120 2nd cutting, we wound up with 6 bales 3rd cutting, and the hay grew up even less after that).  Now, instead of sitting with extra hay to sell, we are hunkering down.  We have plenty to get through this winter, but if it stays dry, we may only get one good cutting on the dryland next year.  If that happens, we will be lucky to raise what our own cows eat, and I'll be darned if I'll sell hay for $180, and have to buy it back at $250.

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Nebrfarmr
Veteran Advisor

Re: Hay prices stack up

I don't know how to answer that.

Alfalfa is an expensive crop to plant, and the first year, you tend to get only half yield (around here, anyway).

If I plant next spring, I get about half my expected yield in 2012, with full production not coming until 2013.
So, you are paying a lot now, for next year's crop.  Do you take that gamble, when you can contract 2012 corn for $6?

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rightone
Senior Contributor

Re: Hay prices stack up, DTN has

a real good site that quotes regional hay prices/ types/ areas etc..

 

Every thing from cheap hay / roughage to the fancy stuff on it.

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