Horse-hay supplies are low and prices are strong in east-central Louisiana, mostly because the 2014 hay-growing season has been wet and cool, reports Ben Taunton, Jonesville.

“We’re ahead with rainfall so far this year,” he says. “It’s sure good for growing, but it’s sure not good for cutting and baling.”

Cool spring temperatures lead to a delayed first cutting. Rather than early May, Taunton’s hybrid bermudagrass wasn’t harvested until the first part of June.

When he did cut, rain followed. He sells his small square bales to the horse market throughout Louisiana.

“Last month it wouldn’t cure at all. We had some lay there for four days. We tedded it every day, and it just didn’t want to cure. The humidity was so high.”

Prices for good-quality bermudagrass hay are running between $180/ton and $230/ton, which is about the same level as reported last year.

“It hasn’t changed much at all,” Taunton reports.

Supplies of good-quality horse hay are thinning. A feed store near Baton Rouge  ran out of small square bales and couldn’t meet the demand, an employee told him.

“Most of it has had rain on it. Folks won’t hardly feed it to their horses,” the grower adds.

Contact Taunton at 318-613-7881 or rbtrauton@gmail.com.