Kentucky hay growers hope a good 2014 growing season will help them restock hay inventories depleted after a “pretty severe winter.”

So says Tom Keene, hay marketing specialist with University of Kentucky Extension.

“We do have some inventory but we don't have a tremendous amount,” Keene says. Hay prices, he estimates, should stay the same or increase slightly come fall. "But we won't really know until all the hay is made – perhaps in September or October.”

Spring and early summer brought good moisture to the state. Grass that was fertilized early and alfalfa hay have yielded well.

“We’ve gotten quite a bit of good hay made so far. And we've had plenty of moisture, so things are looking pretty good. It's just a matter of getting that hay made between showers, which is typical of trying to make hay in Kentucky in May and early June.”

Farmers who haven’t completed their first cuttings of grass hay are starting to see a reduction in quality, he reports. “Any of our fescue-based hay, or even our orchardgrass and timothy, is producing seed now if first cutting isn’t done, so the quality is going to be poor. Some people are okay with that.”

To contact Keene, email tom.keene@uky.edu or call 859-257-3144.