Horse hay will be marketed at a more normal pace this year at Harder Farms near Oak Harbor, OH. Demand and prices will stay high, however.

Last year, when drought severely crimped hay production throughout the Midwest, Steve Harder sold out of small-square bales by the first of the year. “People were calling to buy the hay while we were making it,” he says.

“This year, we haven’t moved that much hay yet. That’s more typical for us. Horse people in our area usually don’t bring their horses in off pasture until we get into November and December.”

Harder puts up an alfalfa-timothy hay mix on 150 acres. Most of his production is marketed in 55- to 70-lb bales, and he contracts with a neighbor to put up 3 x 4’ large squares when hay gets “overripe.”

Several brokers market most of his hay to horse owners in the Cleveland metropolitan area and in Florida.

The grower expects prices this year to stay on par with last year’s. Rained-on hay brought around $180/ton at the barn, and top-quality hay as much as $300/ton.

“I don’t see it coming down any in the foreseeable future,” he says. “Overall, the hay supply isn’t any more plentiful now than it was a year ago, and the demand is still pretty strong. It’s like a lot of things; we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

To contact Harder, call 419-680-3760 or email harderheats@aol.com.

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