Colorado

Buyers are holding back a bit in Colorado after a good hay production year, according to Randy Hammerstrom, USDA Market News reporter in Greeley. Don Leonard, owner of Don's Hay Service in Brush, agrees. "Buyers are on the fence right now," he says. "I don't see hay moving as much. People across the country have been telling me they are seeing some slowing in hay sales. After a year like last year when prices were high, it seems buyers are somewhat apprehensive. There seems to be a good supply of grinder and feeder-type hay, but good horse and dairy hay is in short supply." Leonard got three cuttings and is waiting on the fourth. A mid-July hail destroyed one cutting in his area. "We have had ample rain, so there has been plenty of irrigation ditch water, but a shortage of pump water in some cases," Leonard says.

Hammerstrom says some hay was rain-damaged, while hot weather in July caused some hay to mature fast. "We got some decent moisture this year and many producers got good tonnage," he reports. "Better hay is bringing $150-160/ton. Grinder hay has been in the range of $110-115/ton. Some dairies and feedlots went out and bought hay early this year."

Contact Hammerstrom at 970-353-9750, and Leonard at 970-842-3058.

Montana

Western Montana is exceptionally dry, reports Joel Flynn, Townsend. "The dryland hay burned up early, and many water sources dried up, too," he says. "Most of us in my area have reliable water so I have had extremely good yields when I could keep things wet. Demand has been good. The majority of the hay I know of in my area is sold." He normally gets three cuttings, but expects to get a fourth cutting on some fields this year. "This has been one of those years that don't come along very often with no winterkill, no insects and no diseases."

Flynn says buyers came in early and bought a lot of the hay. "A tremendous amount of hay went west, and it had been a number of years since I sent hay west," he says. Flynn sells small square bales to the horse hay market in Kentucky and Virginia. This year the majority of his hay was beef hay shipped to Washington, with some cubes sold to the export market.

"I don't know where to send people to find hay," he says. "All the hay that was bought up and went to Washington may leave a scarcity for local cattlemen. It has been a bad year for ranchers because pastures are short."

Contact Flynn at 406-266-3578.