Colorado

It's been difficult to move hay between snowstorms in Colorado this winter, reports Doug DeCosta, owner of Colorado Hay Co., Yampa. "We have had 2½ months of steady snow, and March is typically our heaviest snow month," he states. "You can't even see the fencelines because the snow is so deep. It has been hard to move committed hay out of this mountain area because of the mud and snow. On the positive side, we should have good snowpack from an irrigation standpoint." The USDA-Colorado Department of Agriculture Market News reports the statewide snowpack average is at 135% of normal. Hay has been moving somewhat slowly in the state as producers use up old-crop supplies.

DeCosta has been getting calls for dairy hay from the Midwest. Even though supplies are getting somewhat limited, he expects to have enough hay for his existing customers. Hay prices should stay strong this year, especially since other commodity prices have been so high and some hay land may be converted to other crops, says DeCosta, who also sells horse hay. "We have seen a steady increase over the last five to 10 years in horse numbers in Colorado," he notes. "There seem to be more and more people who have a few horses on small acreages."

Colorado Hay Co. deals and brokers hay around the U.S. Call 970-638-4535.

Texas

There probably aren't going to be as many hayfields in the Texas Panhandle this year because many acres are being converted to corn, soybeans and milo, says Jon Garnett, Garnett Farms, Spearman. Garnett cut his own production from 635 acres of alfalfa to 115 for this year, planning to plant more corn and wheat. "We had two circles that needed to come out of production," he explains. "I think if the price of wheat stays as high as it has been, a lot more acres in this area will be converted to wheat that haven't been before. It makes me wonder where the alfalfa hay is going to be coming from this year."

It has been a dry winter in the panhandle after a dry end to last year's hay production season. All of Garnett's hay is contracted and he has stopped advertising so he can meet the needs of existing customers. "Delivery charges have risen considerably because of the price of diesel, but we have kept our base hay price the same for our customers," he says.

Garnett says dry conditions and a lack of hay and pasture mean many stocker/feeder cattle folks in his area didn't buy as many cattle this year. "We've only got about half as many cattle on hand as we usually do."

Garnett Farms is at the top of the panhandle. He sells his hay to several large Texas ranches, delivering it with his own trucks. In addition to alfalfa, he grows 60 acres of Midland 99 bermudagrass under a pivot. He has 34 cows, 235 heifers and a feeder-calf enterprise.

Contact Garnett at 806-270-0204.