Demand for feeder-quality hay remains strong in Montana, says hay grower Joel Flynn of Flynn Hay and Grain in Townsend.

“There are still people out there looking for that kind of hay who can’t find it,” says Flynn, who grows alfalfa and alfalfa-grass hay on 700 irrigated acres with his son, Brandon.

Prices have moved up in lockstep with demand. Early in the season, hay was selling for $130-160/ton, and Flynn sold most of this year’s crop in that range. “If I can get what I think is a good market, I like to sell early.”

In recent weeks, though, he has heard reports of sales in the neighborhood of $200/ton, about $60/ton more than they were a year ago. “That’s more or less the top. Not everyone is getting it. As the drought deepened, prices kept moving up. Everything that had a couple of strings around it was good hay.”

There may not be room for prices to move much higher, the grower believes. “You have to wonder if livestock producers can really afford hay at these high prices. It’s a concern for our industry. Our long-term customers are our bread and butter. We want them coming back next year and the year after that. If they can’t afford the hay, they might not be around much longer.”

To contact Flynn, call 406-266-3578 or email