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Hay!

 
master steward
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I stopped in at one of our area hay suppliers. I had my car, so I really wasn’t looking to buy. His price for small square bales of pasture hay was $9.50 a bale.  Yep, maybe 40 to 50 pound bales.   Fortunately my hay shed is full.  What are the prices in your area?
 
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First cut square is going for about $7.50 at the local farm feed store. Second cut is around $8.50.
 
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$12 per square for fescue mixed hay at our local farm supply. More at the box farm supplies.

Fertilizer prices are through the roof.

- central NC
 
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John F Dean wrote:I stopped in at one of our area hay suppliers. I had my car, so I really wasn’t looking to buy. His price for small square bales of pasture hay was $9.50 a bale.  Yep, maybe 40 to 50 pound bales.   Fortunately my hay shed is full.  What are the prices in your area?


$16-18/bale. One normal bale. It’s outrageous really.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Alexander,

Welcome to Permies.
 
pollinator
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About the same here, $9. From local farmers, more at the feed store and quality not good.  My goats won’t touch it, but rabbits will eat it.  Fescue mix.  We are hand cutting, curing and storing what we can but it is never enough.   Mostly kudzu leaves, sunchoke leaves and grasses.  Cost prohibitive to buy all of it and often not available.  
 
Alexander T Long
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Thanks John! Long time reader but we do a lot of hay so I wanted to jump in here.

Look into getting a 4x4 or 4x5 round bale instead of squares. You can store under a tarp and pull off flakes for your animals or build a simple feeder where they can access it slowly.

50 lb. sq. going for $12 but you can still get a 700 lb. round for $60. That’s a lot of savings.
 
John F Dean
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My problem (well, one of many) is that my front end loader, hence forks, max out at 600 pounds.   That pretty well knocks me out of the large round bales.  I have no idea what the larger squares weigh.
 
Betty Garnett
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Alexander T Long wrote:Thanks John! Long time reader but we do a lot of hay so I wanted to jump in here.

Look into getting a 4x4 or 4x5 round bale instead of squares. You can store under a tarp and pull off flakes for your animals or build a simple feeder where they can access it slowly.

50 lb. sq. going for $12 but you can still get a 700 lb. round for $60. That’s a lot of savings.


Rounds here are $190. So we feed our horses gold haha.
 
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Just checked craigslist postings. Hay is getting a bit pricy here in N. Ohio. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, cutting for good hay is $7.00 a bale. On Christmas Day, 3 different farms to choose from. Of course, in the Summer, when you should be storing hay, it's a good bit cheaper, especially out of the field. I would never buy from a feed store. They charge far too much. They're nice for city people, who don't know any better. ~~~I have paid as high as $7.00 in Summer, but that's if they deliver and stack it my barn.
 
pollinator
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South-central Kentucky here.  I've seen round bales in the field since summer going for sixty dollars each (and probably lose 1/4 of the bale).  Small square bales for $6 for grass hay and $8 for alfalfa.  I just bought locally a big round bale for $50, but he may have given me a special price, since he's a friend from church.  (I didn't ask for a special price, but he's a nice guy.)  Our big bales run closer to 1,500 lbs.; he loaded it onto my brother's car trailer, and my brother tilted his trailer to slide the bale off into the barn.  I then use a cultivating fork (sort of like a pitchfork but with tines bent at right angles to the handle) to pull hay off the bale and feed it to my goats.  That's how we manage without a tractor.  
 
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Curious why your first cut is cheaper. Here, in Eastern Washington, we get about five cuttings of alfalfa. The first cutting brings higher prices for its higher protein. Rain on cut hay will bring the prices down, since it washes protein content away.

Most everyone here has gone to big bales (1,000 -1,500 pounds). When I was farming (about 240 acres under irrigation circles), we baled our own 100# bales.

Prices can be all over the board.  One farmer might let his go for thirty or forty a ton less than another farmer, depending on if he can afford to wait for sales, demands for it from foreign countries (leaving the little guys more opportunity to sell) and what happened elsewhere in the nation and foreign countries (rain, floods,  tsunami, etc.).

It seems, if memory serves, the last time the subject of hay prices came up in a conversation I remember 220/ton for 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th cuttings.  With inflation and absurd fuel prices, I'd not be surprised if it hit $280.00 or even $320.00.  Takes a lot of diesel to cut, rake and bale hay. Then there is the water and electric bill for 100 acres, which is around 15 k per.

The best bet, for those who can, is to cut a deal with the actual grower. It cuts out middle men and such.  After one is found, it'd be worthwhile to join forces with others needing hay, then hire a truck to bring it in, IF you can get it off loaded and stored.

Were a few to come together and put some effort into arranging purchase and delivery, they could save hundreds or even thousands.

If someone needs actual, current prices, I can ask a few farmer friends (area - Mattawa, Washington).


Timothy Norton wrote:First cut square is going for about $7.50 at the local farm feed store. Second cut is around $8.50.

 
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I couldn't resist replying.  
I ha w proof!
This is Iqaluit Nunavut so that's $100 Canadian so only $75.45 in USD

Down in the Gatineau Mountains in QC about 90 minutes north of our little capital, I can get them for $5 but they're a bit light I would say no more than 40lbs
20231226_134805.jpg
WTF
WTF
 
Timothy Norton
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Kelly Craig wrote: Curious why your first cut is cheaper.

Timothy Norton wrote:First cut square is going for about $7.50 at the local farm feed store. Second cut is around $8.50.



I don't buy hay from this feed store but I do get feed for the chickens. Next time I stop by, I'll ask.
 
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Guess I'm glad I gave up my cows a couple of years ago. I found that the large round bales were much more economical. I was paying $35 for 1000 lbs rolls, delivered and stacked in my barn. He did use my tractor to unload and stack in the barn. I am in middle Tennessee, USA
 
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Right now, for quality hay that my goats will eat, I'm paying $125 for a round bale weighing about 850 pounds or $16 for small squares that are about 75-80 pounds. I was getting really nice rounds from another farmer for $75 but he ran out.
I figured up what the goats and horses are putting away. One round bale last 3 horses 12 days, while it lasts 11 goats 17 days. I gotta get a new hobby/habit....
 
pollinator
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2nd plus cuts of Bermuda is more leaf. Less stem. However where I’m at it cost the same but play it safe because where I’m at in Texas you might not get 2 cuts. I always secured my hay asap if a bad freeze hits or fire like last year it goes through the roof.
 
John F Dean
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Good point Joe.  In my area 3 cuttings is the norm.   I have never heard of anyone getting less.  I used to cut my own and hand bale it.   I got lazy and stopped …I am in top of my 74th birthday.   But I may make another go of it if the prices don’t drop. That would save me in the neighborhood of $900.00.

Somewhere we crossed a dangerous line . I brought up getting rid of the goats to my wife.  She was all for it …..then came the exceptions.  It seems that somehow some of them have names and are her pets.
 
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I dont really have to deal with the hay buying business any more,i sold my goats.My dad has too many cows so we bale as much as we can but he  still has to buy a lot of hay.He got a good deal from a neighbor for $30 for a 6x6 roll of one cut hay,it was over grown and had a lot of seeds and stems.The guy was busy with crops and such and only cut it one time,Dad was glad to get it,everyone else is 40 to 125 a roll bale and you dont know what your getting.

I have an idea and some might already be doing this.Some farmers are cutting along the roadway right of way before the county does and rolling that.My idea is to hand cut or using a walk behind tractor someone could cut the hilly parts or hard to get to places that the bigger tractors cant get to,its lots of hand labor and time consuming but it would save some money.Im talking about tall grasses and forbs,stuff that is easier handled than short grass.Anyone doing this should be sure it is ok to do so and never near the roadway.There are too many idiot drivers who somehow find the ditch on perfectly good roads under dry driving conditions.You dont want to be near them while they are doing a video chat or staring at the bug that just hit the windshield or whatever causes them to like driving in the ditch.
 
Gina Jeffries
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John F Dean wrote: Somewhere we crossed a dangerous line . I brought up getting rid of the goats to my wife.  She was all for it …..then came the exceptions.  It seems that somehow some of them have names and are her pets.



So my husband hints that I have 4 goats that don't have a purpose. How he knew that amazed me! However, he was incorrect.  The buck cannot live his life in solitary with only occasional conjugal visits, therefore, he needs his buck buddy. That cleared Austin from the list.  Lincoln can't go, he's my peacekeeper. Mocha keeps his sister (and future dairy doe) company. The Dink is a necessary evil. And yes, I really DO need all these goats!
 
pollinator
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I’m paying $11 (Canadian $) this year for 40 lb bales, Vancouver Island, BC. And that is a good price for here at the moment. It was a really bad year for hay. Most farms got only one cut or in some cases none. It’s not nearly as good quality as I bought from the same farm for less money last year, but at least they got some hay in. Apparently a lot of people were really scrambling when their regular hay suppliers had nothing this year.
 
Saralee Couchoud
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One thing I have done for 40 years to cut costs is figure out how much hay I need for the year with a little extra for caution and then buy it in June when the price is the lowest price of the year. I figured I not only saved about 25% but I didn't have to worry about getting it if the supplies ran short. Also when I bought my hay if I planned to get it from the same place next year, I would go ahead and order for the next year and lock in the price
 
Kelly Craig
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SIDE NOTE:  One year my idiot friend sold ALL our hay. We had 17 Limozine cattle that liked to eat, however.  We ended up getting a few big bales from another farmer. They were bales no one else wanted. When I busted one open, 3' diameter, at the center, was all charcoal. It had been put up a bit too wet.

The cattle hated it and I think a few of them flipped me off when I tried to feed it too them.

We had bought five hundred gallons of molasses for the orchard, as a foliage nutriment, but never got around to applying it. I remembered my dad talking about the depression, when people were too broke to buy hay, or couldn't otherwise get it. They poured molasses over sawdust and fed it to the cattle, to keep them alive. It worked. It wasn't great, but it worked.

I filled a five gallon bucket, took it out to the pen and poured it over the horrible hay. I think I got flipped off by several more of the cattle.

The next morning, when the cattle saw me coming out to the pen with another bucket on the back of the four wheeler, they started bucking and dancing like calves. I'm pretty sure I heard something to the effect "he brought the candy."  The hay went down easy for them after that, and the molasses didn't go to waste.
 
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$10/50#bale horse quality hay. For $35, they'll haul it, stack it, & bring anything else we order, and put it wherever we want - no matter how much we order, as long as it fits on their flatbed truck. Their straw was I think $6/50# bale, so we generally get a supply of those, any cattle panels we need, etc, all at once, each season.
 
Ra Kenworth
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Shookeli Riggs wrote: some might already be doing this.Some farmers are cutting along the roadway right of way before the county does and rolling that.My idea is to hand cut or using a walk behind tractor  .



I clued into when exactly to harvest the wild peas near me, before the municipality cuts them, and I yank what I can and replant them. Then I go back and collect all the cut ones (they never collect this)

I will add this is for green manure / cover crop only! The deer eat them but I think they may be poisonous to pigeons and won't risk them getting near them!

My farmer quit selling hay and rotates more peas especially in a bad year where the season is short.
They also cut roadside hay because there isn't much traffic at all. Then it is selectively fed to the young males.

It seems a lot of people have been cutting back to only personal cows and hay.

I had to get myself a new farmer for my hay. I was very fortunate to get one so close and reasonable  ($5 can is $3.25 usd and even if they are light, there's gas to think of.
 
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