“Steady” is New York hay dealer Chris Oliver’s one-word description of the horse-hay market in New England so far this winter.

“Overall, things have been rolling along just fine,” says Oliver, who operates DBA Hay Express, near Burke, NY, with his wife, Donna. “Demand has been good, and prices haven’t really fluctuated much from where they were last year at this time.”

In a typical year, the Olivers sell around 90,000 small square bales of grass hay, at 40-45 lbs each, from growers in upstate New York. Their market: small horse farms throughout New England, from northern Vermont to Connecticut.

Good-quality, first-cutting grass hay in the region is selling for $7-7.50/bale, while second crop is bringing $8-8.75/bale. “The price varies some depending on the quantity a customer buys,” Oliver explains.

By winter’s end, he expects supplies to tighten up in the region. “We had a lot of cool and wet weather early in the season, so there’s not a lot of June-cut hay available for the market. What was put up, was cut late. And with the cold weather we’ve been having at the start of the winter, the horses have been eating more. They have to stay warm. Take those two things together and things could be a pretty tight by the time we get to the new season.”

To contact the Olivers, call 518-335-9787 or email oliver071@yahoo.com.

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