Hay prices in central Indiana are similar to last year’s even though it’s been another tough year to put up a crop.

Prices have remained steady because of rising costs for fuel and other inputs, reports grower Dennis Heaton of Agri Venture Hay Farms near Russiaville.

For his alfalfa-orchardgrass-timothy hay, Heaton charges $7.50/bale for 50- to 55-lb small squares of good-quality horse hay. He charges $5/bale for poorer-quality hay.

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Hay quality in Indiana has suffered so far this season, thanks to rain and cool spring weather.

“Good-quality hay is going to be hard to come by in this area,” Heaton says. “There will be a lot of average-quality hay out there.”

A delayed first cutting put the whole summer behind, he adds. Now, hot, wet and humid weather has slowed third-cutting.

“We’ve had hay on the ground for five or six or seven days, which is unusual for us in August,” Heaton says. “It’s taking forever to dry.”

He expects hay prices to rise as winter approaches, due to the likely lack of good-quality bales.

“If we have a snowy, cold winter, I’d say the quality hay is going to disappear pretty quick.”

The hay Heaton raises on about 250 acres primarily goes to horse owners and feed stores in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

To contact Heaton, call 765-883-5033 or email hayman5033@aol.com. Or visit agriventurehayfarms.com.