Warmer weather would be more than welcome at Bootes Farm near Middlesex, NY. “The hay crops are looking pretty good right now,” says hay grower Brian Bootes. “We have plenty of soil moisture. Last week, we had 5-7” of rain in two days.

“Now, if we can just get a little heat, we should be able to get going on our first cutting of orchardgrass in early June.”

Bootes puts up timothy-alfalfa and orchardgrass-alfalfa hay on 250 acres. In a typical year, he makes 20,000-25,000 small-square bales each weighing 60-65 lbs. Most are marketed through a broker serving Northeastern horse owners, but Bootes also sells directly.

It’s still too early to get a feel for where prices might be headed in coming months, he says. This spring, second-crop grass hay in his area sold for $225-250/ton at the farm. First-crop hay went for $170-200/ton.

“I’m thinking that prices should at least hold steady from this point on. Row crops have taken a lot of hay ground out in this part of the country. So I don’t see any kind of big over-supply developing. Then again, you never know what the weather will bring, or how much hay there’s going to be in other parts of the country. I expect we’ll have a lot better idea on where the market is headed a month from now.”

Bootes can be contacted at 585-554-6628 or bbootes@frontier.com.