Hay grower John Atkinson of Trails End Farm in Kingdom City, MO, managed to hold prices for his horse-owner customers at 2010 levels this year. He’s hoping he can do the samein 2012.

“A lot will depend on what input prices do, and I don’t have a good feel for that yet,” says Atkinson, who, with his wife, Mary Lou, put up smooth brome hay in small square and round bales on 70 acres this year. “The recession is still going on for horse people. And a price increase would be hard for many of them. At the same time, I don’t have any reason to believe that I’ll be lowering my price any.”

The Atkinsons’ 2011 hay crop has been spoken for. They charged $4-4.10/bale for small squares loaded in the field. For 4 x 4’ round bales, they charged $25/roll weighing approximately 800 lbs. They got $35/roll for 1,000-lb, 4 x 5’ round bales.

Round bales were a new venture this year. “A lot of people with just one or two horses still like the small square bales for convenience,” Atkinson says. “But there’s more demand for the rounds all the time. The smaller (4 x 4’) bales roll off a trailer pretty easily. The larger (4 x 5’) bales are more popular with people who have the equipment to unload and feed them.”

To contact Atkinson, call 573-592-7239 or email atkinsonj@socket.net.