Nailing down a going price for all types of hay remains an elusive undertaking throughout Michigan this winter, says Phil Kaatz, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension area field crops specialist.
“The price is really all over the board,” says Kaatz. “A price somewhere in the range of $220-280/ton will probably catch a lot of the good hay that’s out there for sale right now. But we’re seeing prices of over $300/ton as well. Good grass hay has been selling for as much as good alfalfa hay. In general, prices are probably 50-75% higher than they were a year ago.”
The short supply-high price situation has led some buyers to bring in hay from other states. “In some cases, they’re reporting paying less for it than they would for in-state hay even after the delivery charges are factored in.”
The market is likely at or near a top, says Kaatz. “I don’t know how much higher prices can go before people say ‘I’m just not going to do it anymore.’ That’s especially true for traditional livestock producers who have other options. For horse people, it’s more of a challenge.”