Continued strong demand for good-quality horse hay is keeping prices steady in northeastern Arkansas, says Steven Hill of Hill Hay Farms Inc., Paragould.

Hill and his father, Ronnie, put up bermudagrass hay on 800 irrigated and dryland acres. In a typical year, they’ll make 150,000-180,000 small squares weighing 50-55 lbs each. Most of their hay goes to customers in horse markets, including racetracks, feed stores and individual horse owners within 600 miles of the farm. They also put up 120,000 small square bales of wheat straw annually.

Limited supplies due to last summer’s hot and dry weather have largely kept upside pressure on prices, says Hill. At the start of the winter, bermudagrass was bringing around $200/ton at the farm. Currently, the going price is around $240/ton.

“We still have some hay in the shed, but it’s all spoken for,” he reports. “We had to bring in 10,000 bales recently to fill orders for some of our existing customers.”

Hill expects the price to remain steady through the growing season. “I really don’t see it fluctuating a whole lot unless it rains all summer, and there’s a lot of hay coming on the market. Then you might see a little difference with prices dropping a bit.”

Unlike last year’s growing season, the spring has started off wet and cool. “It hasn’t been good for bermudagrass so far. Usually, we try to get going with first cutting around June 1. This year, I don’t know if that will happen. Things would really have to change over the next several weeks.”

To contact Hill, call 870-215-2000 or email hillhayfarms@yahoo.com.

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