Small square bale prices saw a 25% price increase in the Upper Midwest during the second-to-last week in January, says Ken Barnett, University of Wisconsin. The maximum price for prime-quality small square bales at greater than 151 relative feed value (RFV)/relative forage quality (RFQ) was $328/ton, while the minimum price was $122.50/ton and the average was $197.63/ton.

Large square bale prices were steady. Prime-quality hay ranged from $85 to $211.88/ton in large squares, averaging $157.12; Grade 1 hay (125-150 RFV/RFQ), from $90 to $200, averaging $145.66; and Grade 2 large square bales averaged $101.49/ton, ranging from $75 to $120.48/ton.

Sales activity was light to heavy for large round bales and prices were up slightly. Prime round bales ranged from $70 to $170/ton, averaging, $133.21. Grade 1 round bales averaged $133.33/ton, ranging from $80 to $136.67/ton, and Grade 2 rounds sold for $50 to $115.38/ton, averaging $87.69.

Nebraska hay prices were steady on fairly light to moderate demand and trade activity, and Iowa prices were mixed to lower, demand was moderate to good, and trade activity was mostly moderate. South Dakota hay prices were mixed to somewhat lower, with supply and demand limited by extremely cold conditions, high winds and blowing snow that week.

In Missouri, prices were steady, the supply was light and hay movement was moderate. Extreme cold made cattle eager to consume hay. Several truckers were busy as some farmers who have bought hay on an as-needed basis were starting to find hay at prices that appeared to be a deal compared to those of last summer or early fall. More hay is becoming available in Missouri with each week that brings producers closer to new grass.

Prices were mixed to lower, and sales activity was good, in southwestern Minnesota. Illinois hay prices were mixed to as much as $45.70/ton higher. Demand was good and hay offerings were heavy.

Straw prices in the Upper Midwest averaged $2.55 per small square bale, ranging from $1 to $3.50. Straw prices averaged $26.83/large square bale, ranging from $25 to $31; and $22.63/round bale with a $12.50 to $30 range. Compared to the previous week's prices, straw prices were up 14% for small square bales, up 5% for large squares and down 4% for round bales.

Source: University of Wisconsin Extension Service.