Declining horse numbers in New Hampshire have cut the demand for hay, reports Curt Jacques, who owns West Lebanon Feed and Supply with his wife, Sharon, in West Lebanon.

Despite that fact, prices for good-quality timothy-orchardgrass hay remain comparable to what they were last year at this time, he notes.

Jacques sells small squares for $6.50 to $7/bale – a price that hasn’t varied over the past two years. Out of the field, the 35-lb bales are $4.50 each.

Dry-hay round bales are $40-50 each for first cutting and $50-70/bale for second cutting. Low-quality baleage sells for $30-50/bale and premium ranges from $50 to $80/bale.

Jacques isn’t sure where prices will head as fall and winter approach. Some farmers who raise hay as a cash crop have put much of their high-quality hay in their barns. They’re banking on price increases in the early part of 2015, when demand increases and supplies dwindle, he says.

“It all depends on the continuing change in the horse industry. Population numbers on horses have been declining the last six years or so and are just now leveling off. We’ll have to see what it does to hay demand.”

This year’s hay season started out slow in New Hampshire, he says.

“But we had great opportunity in late May and the first part of June to make some good hay.” Compared to the past two years’ hay crop, second cutting in the last two weeks looks great for quality and quantity, he adds.

Because fewer farmers are harvesting hay as a cash crop in New Hampshire these days, supply and demand should be at a better balance, he says.

To contact Jacques, call 603-298-8600 or email curt@westlebanonsupply.com.