Input costs will determine whether or not Jamey Styles has to raise prices on the bermudagrass hay he grows on 1,000 acres near Coal Hill, AR. “A lot depends on the rainfall we get,” says Styles. “If we have to pump a lot of water on our irrigated ground, we’ll probably have to increase our price again.”

He sells most of his hay in 3 x 3 x 8’ bales to horse owners in Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. He also makes round and small square bales. Last year he sold the medium squares, which weigh about 750 lbs, for $60/bale, $10 more than he charged in 2010. “Similar hay was bringing around $100/bale in Texas. But we aren’t in this to gouge anybody.”

Warm weather and plenty of rain this spring have the grass off to a good start, but the mild conditions have also brought some potential problems. “We’ve already seen some grasshoppers,” says Styles. “That’s something we wouldn’t ordinarily be thinking about for another two months or so.”

Holdover problems from last year’s drought are also of concern. “We were down on production last year and had some stand loss on our non-irrigated ground. This year we’re having to baby everything. We’re doing a lot of soil testing. And annual weeds are terrible in some places.”

To contact Styles, call 479-774-4400 or email jameystyles@gmail.com.

Learn more at the Styles Ranch Web site.