Louisiana

Hay barns are full in east-central Louisiana this fall, thanks to very good production conditions and adequate rain, says Ben Taunton, Jonesville. "My barn is full; my neighbor's barn is full. I have very good-quality horse hay available," he reports. Taunton has 2,500, 50- to 60-lb square bales of Russell bermudagrass that he sells for $5/bale. He also has 200 net-wrapped round bales of lesser quality that sell for $30/bale. "There are lots of round bales available in this area -- many more than have been available in the last several years," he says. The horse hay he has available was cut Oct 10-13.

Taunton works with his father, Jack, on Jack's bermudagrass-sprigging business and has planted around 3,000 acres in the last three years in Louisiana. He is considering increasing his hay acres next year. This year's crop was grown on 200 acres. He usually sells to customers out of the field, but is also willing to deliver.

Contact Taunton at 318-613-7881 or 318-386-7825.

North Dakota

"Hay production was good, dairy cow numbers are down, and as a result we have good hay supplies and lower prices," says Dwain Meyer, North Dakota State University extension agronomist. "We are probably one of the few states that still have $60 hay." Some south-central North Dakota producers took three cuttings this year in areas that had struggled the past few years to provide one cut because of dry conditions, Meyer says. Much of the state's first harvest was rained on, while second and third cuttings went up in good shape. Meyer says prices and demand are better just over the border in Minnesota, with hay bringing $125-150/ton.

"We've had more alfalfa weevil problems this year than we've seen in past years," says Meyer. "They came into the south-central part of the state, moved to western North Dakota, and now we are seeing them move into the eastern side of the state. We had the worst alfalfa weevil infestation during the first harvest that we have ever had. Then, after the first harvest, the weevils seemed to disappear and we didn't have to spray after that."

North Dakota's hay acreage didn't change much this year, which came as somewhat of a surprise to Meyer. "I thought we would lose significant acreage because of the price of cereal crops. We may lose acres for that reason next year." Eastern North Dakota will be going into the winter with decent moisture, while the western part of the state could use a bit more rain, he estimates.

Contact Meyer at 701-231-8154.