Spring is slow to come in central Indiana, reports Denny Heaton, Agri Venture Hay Farms and McMinn Hay Farms, Russiaville. “We estimate our first cut will be pushed back by at least 10 days, maybe 14,” he says. “Rain has not been quite as heavy here as down south, but still heavy at times.”

Heaton says more and more local hay acres are being taken out of production and put into corn or beans. “We are still committed to the hay business as we have expanded acres,” he states. “We were able to seed 120 more acres of a mix of alfalfa-orchard-timothy on April 8. We also have plans to seed a blend of BMR sorghum-sudan, forage soybeans and peas after wheat harvest for high-quality baleage targeted to the dairy and beef markets. This would be available in early fall.” Heaton still has high-quality horse and dairy hay available in small square bales.

Contact Heaton at 765-883 5033 or

South Dakota

East-central South Dakota got 10-12” of snow from the second storm in three weeks as of last Friday, according to Don Guthmiller, Hamlin County extension educator at Hayti. “Locally, we still have plenty of hay on hand,” he reports. “There is still some dairy-quality hay, but those supplies are tight. The I-29 dairy corridor snatched up the good hay early on and much of the remaining hay is heading into Minnesota.” Dairy expansion continues along Interstate 29 in South Dakota and into Iowa.

Guthmiller says hay prices stayed strong throughout the winter. According to USDA, South Dakota’s average price peaked at $105/ton in February, an all-time high. However, hay auction prices have started to drop off in the last few weeks. Hay production is expected to run at least 10 days to two weeks behind schedule due to the late-winter storms and wet conditions. “Fields have just barely started to green up in east-central South Dakota, and typically we would see alfalfa and pastures a lot farther along by now,” he states.

Guthmiller says South Dakota hay is going into central Minnesota where some areas were dry last summer, while other parts of the state were flooded. “Minnesota had a decrease in hay stocks on Dec. 1, 2007, compared to 2006, while South Dakota had an increase in hay stocks over the same period,” he explains. “Now we have some concern because when they came out with the recent (USDA) Prospective Plantings report, South Dakota hay acres were down compared to 2007, along with lower new alfalfa seedings.”

Guthmiller, who specializes in marketing and management, maintains a Web site analyzing economic information pertaining to the dairy industry and dairy hay at Contact him at 605-783-3656.