A later-than-expected start to spring bolstered hay prices at the Rushville Hay Auction in Harrisonburg, VA, earlier this month.

“People were thinking that the winter was behind us, so hay prices had been dropping off some,” says auction owner Tom Weaver. “But then we had some more snow at the end of March, and people didn’t have hay on hand. That pushed demand and prices up.”

At the April 3 auction, several loads of fourth-cutting alfalfa hay, packaged in 3 x 3 x 7’ bales, sold for $280-300/ton. “In our area, you don’t see any 8’ bales,” explains Weaver. “A lot of the farmers here feed the large squares in round bale feeders. Seven-footers load (into the feeders) better.”

Very good mixed-grass hay, in 4 x 5’ and 5 x 5’ round bales, brought $120-140/ton; good-quality hay brought $96-108/ton. Small-square 45-lb bales of mixed-grass hay sold for $3.85-4/bale. Mixed alfalfa-orchardgrass in small squares brought $5-7/bale.

Weaver expects prices to remain flat well into summer. “We have a fair amount of hay from last year heading into the spring,” he says. “At the same time, though, we’ve had good growing seasons for the past four or five years. One of the years we’ll get a dry one. If that happens this year, the hay price will jump real quick.”

Hay sales at Weaver’s Harrisonburg auction site are held on the first, third and fifth Wednesdays of the month year-round. From September through March, he also conducts sales on the second and fourth Mondays of the month in Staunton, VA. Auctions at both locations begin at 10 a.m.

To contact Weaver, call 540-435-0020 or email tweaverauctions@gmail.com.

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