With first-cutting yield a third of what it should have been around Harrisonburg, VA, auction owner Tom Weaver is seeing less hay for sale and predicting higher prices.

On July 2, only 15 tons of hay were sold at his Rushville Hay Auction in Harrisonburg, and good-quality orchardgrass round bales were going for $150-160/ton. That’s considerably more than the typical early summer prices of $90-110/ton, he says.

“We had a harder winter than we’ve had for years and years,” he says. “It was colder and it lasted longer. I think the cold weather kind of knocked down the stands a little bit, so it ends up being a little less hay.”

Most growers are now into their third cutting, but Weaver thinks supplies will remain low.

“Until fall, you’re going to see some pretty high hay prices.”

Good-quality alfalfa-orchardgrass large squares went for $66/bale at Rushville’s July 2 auction, according to USDA Market News.

Good-quality mixed grass sold for $53/large square bale or $90-126/ton. Large round bales of good-quality mixed grass sold for $25/bale.

Orchardgrass small squares, also good quality, sold for $4.10/bale.

Rushville Hay Auction is held at 10 a.m. on the first, third and fifth Wednesdays of the month year-round. For more information, contact Weaver at 540-435-0020.