Plenty of moisture in mid-July has spurred the growth of central Mississippi’s bermudagrass hay crop, says grower Danny Martin of Jackson.

“Some places got 10” in a 10- to 11-day period,” says Martin, who puts up the grass in 50- to 55-lb small square bales on 100 acres. “The hay is looking pretty good.”

In an average year, he makes around 20,000 bales and takes four cuttings. “I’ve had as many as six and as few as two in a year. It all depends on the weather. This year, I know I’ll get at least four. Five is a possibility.”

Horse owners within 25-30 miles of the farm are Martin’s primary market. For his top-quality hay, he charges $5/bale and does the loading. If customers want the hay delivered, he tacks on an extra fee based on distance.

“We’re charging the same as we did last year,” he says. “If you go too high, you can’t sell it. There’s a lot of competition right in this area.”

So far this year, demand seems to have dropped. “Last year, we had everything sold before it was ever baled. We had one buyer in Texas who took 3,000 bales.

“This year, though, it’s been a little slower. A lot of people in the area are getting rid of their horses because of the poor economy. It comes down to you can feed your animals or you can feed you.”

To contact Martin, call 601-942-2882 or email dma4146025@aol.com.