The 30-40 loads of hay arriving at the Equity Cooperative Livestock Association’s weekly auctions in Lomira, WI, this winter represent a volume decline of 25% or so compared to those of the past several years, says auction manager Kevin Johnson.

He believes last summer’s strong sales activity has been the key factor. “We were selling a lot of hay last June, July and August that we normally wouldn’t have sold. In a typical year, we’ll have a sale or two where we don’t have any hay to sell in the summer months. This past year, though, that didn’t happen. Demand and prices were so good that people were selling during the growing season. A lot of hay that we would normally see being sold now had already been moved by the time we got into the fall.”

Large square bales of second- and third-cutting alfalfa have been the hot sellers in recent weeks, bringing $250-300/ton. “The real good stuff is hard to find,” says Johnson. “And that’s keeping the prices up there.”

Good, soft grassy hay, along with good, grass-alfalfa mixed hay destined for feeding to horses and young stock, has been bringing $150-200/ton. “With the easy winter we’ve had, we thought prices might ease off a bit,” says Johnson. “But they really haven’t. Everybody is looking for the good hay.”

To contact Johnson, call 608-434-4023 or email kjohnson@equitycoop.com.