Hay prices across the board have been locked in a fairly tight range in recent months at B.E.S.T. Auction Services, a twice-monthly hay sale in Winterset, IA.

“We still have plenty of buyers looking for the better-quality alfalfa and alfalfa-grass hay, so prices have been holding up,” says Scott Evans, who manages the auction with partner Tom Bradley. “Demand isn’t as strong for the grass hay. There’s a lot of it out in the countryside.”

At recent sales, 1,400- to 1,500-lb round bales of alfalfa and alfalfa-grass brought $70-75/bale. Small squares, at 40-50 lbs, sold for $7-7.50 each. Large rounds of grass hay went for $45-60/bale depending on quality. Grass hay in small squares sold for $2.50-3/bale.

“It’s a lot different from last year when we had alfalfa-mixed grass topping out at $230/bale and grass selling for $175-200,” says Evans.

He expects prices to stay steady in coming weeks. “We still have up to 4’ of frost in the ground. It’s looking like it’s going to be May before people can start turning their cows out on pasture. So they’re still going to be feeding hay for a few weeks.”

The next hay sales are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Mar. 22 and April 5 and will be held at the Madison County Livestock Auction in Winterset. To contact Evans, call 515-669-1768 or email seevans@wildblue.net. Bradley can be reached at 515-202-7687.