Ordinarily, Alabama hay grower Bill Collier cuts first-crop bermudagrass hay the first week of May. This year, the weather threw a curveball.
“It’s been out and out crazy,” says Collier, owner of Coldor Farms near Auburn. “It’s been cold and wet all spring. The bermudagrass has started to green up a little, but it just isn’t growing. Right now, it looks like we probably won’t get started for another month to six weeks.”
In a typical year, he takes three cuttings off 150 acres seeded to Russell, Coastal and Tifton 44 bermudagrass varieties. This year, with the later start, he may only get two. Roughly 75% of his production – both large round and small square bales – is marketed to commercial beef operations. He sells the rest to horse owners.
To move the 100 or so round bales left from his 2012 crop, Collier recently dropped his price from $50/bale, weighing 1,100 lbs or so, to $35/bale. Some area growers are speculating that higher cattle prices could strengthen hay prices by $10/bale or so this year. But he’s taking a wait-and-see attitude. “Beef prices have been pretty good, but the cattle people I deal with aren’t getting rich.”
To contact Collier, call 334-332-3191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.