Like many others, Indiana hay grower Eric Miles is ahead of schedule on this year’s harvest because of favorable spring weather.

“Usually, we don’t get started until around May 20,” says Miles, of Miles Farm near Cambridge. “This year, though, we were able to get going on May 6. Most people have either wrapped up or just about wrapped up first cutting, and a lot of people are getting close on second cutting. If the weather holds up throughout the season, we should be in for a pretty good production year.”

Miles grows alfalfa on 150 acres, typically taking four cuttings a year. He packages hay in 3 x 4 x 8’ bales and sells 95% to Indiana dairies. The rest is sold to horse owners and beef producers.

In his area, alfalfa with an RFV of 140-150 is selling for $130-150/ton at the farm. In January and February, similar-quality crop brought $170-180/ton. The warm winter and early spring took prices “downhill pretty quickly,” he says.

They should hold at current levels for the time being, but bump up slightly later in the summer, he predicts. “By fall, $150-175/ton will probably catch the best hay. That’s unless it turns dry on us. Then, who knows?”

Miles is gearing up for a mid-June wheat harvest; he buys straw behind the combine on about 700 acres, then resells it to dairies looking for bedding material and a low-cost ration ingredient.

Prices could start in the $80-120/ton range around harvest time, then push up steadily through fall, he believes. “Overall, there’s a lot less wheat in the area this year. A guy holding onto it should be able to get a pretty good price this winter.”

To contact Miles, call 765-256-0443 or email milesfarm96@yahoo.com.