A lack of solid market information has Nebraska hay grower Andy Stock, of Stock Hay Company near Murdock, holding off on setting a first-crop hay price.

“I haven’t heard a lot in the way of reported sales so far,” says Stock, who puts up alfalfa hay in 3 x 4 x 8’ bales on 400 dryland acres for the dairy market. “For right now, I’ll try to hold somewhat steady until I can get a better idea of what the markets are doing.”

Stock, president of the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association (N.A.M.A.), sold most of his hay last fall at $1.40-1.50/point of relative feed value (RFV). He’s optimistic the price will stay in the same range this year.

“Hay acres are still way down, and the demand seems to be hanging in there. My phone has been ringing. I’ve been getting calls from dairies in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, places where they had a lot of rain during first-crop harvest. They were able to put it up as haylage and baleage, but they’re looking for a little dry hay to carry them through until they can get into second crop. Mostly, they were testing the market.”

Wet, cool weather was a challenge for Stock while cutting first crop. “We had pretty good tonnage. But we only had 80 acres that weren’t rained on. And by the time we got to that, it was pretty mature. It was still in that 140-150 RFV range, but it wasn’t top-end hay by any means.”

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The situation was dramatically different in other parts of the state. “About 150 miles west of here, it was so hot and dry that people were baling at night to get enough moisture on it. I heard the same thing from another friend north of here. They were putting up some beautiful hay.”

Stock was hoping for better harvesting weather when he started in on second crop earlier this month. “It was a little uneven in some places because we had to roll over the windrow a couple of times on first cutting. But, overall, it was looking pretty good.”

To contact Stock, call 402-499-5004 or email andy@stockhay.com.

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