It’s still a little early to tell, but Ewing, KY, horse-hay grower and dealer Jeff Stephens expects prices to stay fairly strong in the months ahead.

“They’re off a bit from where they were a year ago at this time, but we were in a drought then,” says Stephens, owner of Jeff Stephens Hay and Straw, LLC. “There was some panic buying going on. So far this year, it looks like the demand has softened some, but not all that much.”

Stephens puts up alfalfa-orchardgrass bales in small squares and 3 x 3 x 8’ bales on 100 acres. He mainly markets to thoroughbred horse farms and stables in the nearby Lexington area, but also buys hay from other growers for resale. He puts up another 150 acres of grass hay for his cow-calf beef herd.

Last summer and fall, the going price for top-end horse hay in Stephens’ area was $200/ton at the barn. By the end of the winter, the price had moved to around $250/ton. “We had a late spring this year, so everybody was feeding hay for an extra three weeks or so. That kept prices strong.”

His current marketing strategy is to hold on to his production while the markets work themselves through. “We have good storage, so we don’t have to sell right out of the field. We can be patient.”

He’ll keep a close eye on corn and soybean prices for an indication of where hay prices might be headed. “Everything follows the price of grain. Right now, I’m thinking hay prices should hold.”

To contact Stephens, call 606-782-7640 or email

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