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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Hay Price Question

Since I don't buy and sell hay very much, I'm looking for your experience as to how well hay follows corn and other grain prices or is it in a world of it's own much of the time?


Here's a snippet from a hay prices message I get from Extension:


Mid- to Late- May , 2012 Hay Price Update
Fort Atkinson (NE IA) Wednesdays, 1:00PM
(Alfalfa or mixed Alfalfa/Grass, & Quality of lots not stated)
1st Cut: SmSq $95-150/T; LgSq $105-175/T; LgRd $90-150/T
2nd Cut: SmSq $110-140/T ; LgSq $125/T; LgRd $100-120/T
3rd Cut: SmSq $120/T; LgSq $95-150/T; LgRd $100-135/T
4th Cut: ( LgSq $130-155/T Apr) ; LgRd $140/T
Grass: Good LgRd $90/T
Oat Hay: (LgRd $80/T Apr)
Straw: (SmSq $95/T Apr)
Cornstalks: (LgRd $20/T Apr)
Dyersville (NE IA ) Thursdays 10:30 AM
Premium: (LgSq $142.50-175/T; LgRd $160-165/T Apr)
Good: LgSq $125-170/T; LgRd $110-160/T
Fair: LgSq $112.50-155/T; (LgRd $72.50-155/T Apr)
Utility: LgSq $60-90/T; LgRd $62.50-105/T
Mixed Legume/Gr
Good: LgSq $90/T; (LgRd $80-130/T Apr)
Good: ( LgRd $80-95/T Apr)
Straw: LgSq $25-38/bale 

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2 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: Hay Price Question

Neighbor runs a fait bit of cattle.....puts up hay for himself and alittle for hire.......said what he has put up so far is light.....and that's been the word around too.....

Last winter hay got really high and we had a milder winter and he contemplated selling he is glad he didn't as he will need it between the light crop so far and he lost a few patches of hay ground to soya......

What little hay ground we have left gets put up by another neighbor on shares and he has gotten our shares sold very nicely the last two years......I am betting that will not change......
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Senior Contributor

Re: Hay Price Question

To some extent, it's in a world of it's own most of the time.  Around here, the typical irrigated acre of alfalfa will yield between four and five ton.  You can see with alfalfa being worth only 100 bucks a ton that it trails corn rather heavily.  This is why a lot of alfalfa ground has been torn up and planted to corn.  Last year, alfalfa got rather high because of the drought down south.  Irrigated alfalfa consumes a lot more water than corn.  While one typically doesn't have to put nitrogen on alfalfa, it does consume a lot of phos.  I've never seen where it was cheaper to raise alfalfa than corn which is again why a lot of alfalfa was destroyed and the land planted to corn. 


Most of us feeders found out several years ago that it was cheaper to buy alfalfa than to raise it ourselves.  There is a lot of bottom ground along the rivers where they still predominately grow alfalfa, but this is because of high ph where corn doesn't do well.  Plus, the alfalfa roots basically grow down to the water so not as much irrigation water has to be supplied.  Because of wet distillers, a lot of us feed rather small amounts of alfalfa anymore.  We mostly feed cane, straw, or whatever other low grade roughage we can find for filler. 

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