It has already been an up-and-down growing season for Ohio hay grower-dealer Larry Brogan. Warm, early spring weather got the alfalfa, timothy and orchardgrass hay crops he grows on 1,000 acres near Hanoverton off to a quick start. But four consecutive nights in late April, with temperatures below 20°F, set the crop back. “Up until then, we were only a week away from harvesting our alfalfa,” he says.
By the time Brogan was finally able to get going with harvest, dry weather had severely crimped yields. “It was about half of what we normally get,” he says.
Continued dry weather will likely affect second-crop yields, too. “We should have been going on it about two weeks ago, but it just hasn’t been growing. The quality is looking good, but it’s going to be awfully short. I’m praying for rain.”
As a result, Brogan, who sells most of his hay through dealers, looks for hay prices in his area to remain strong in the months ahead. “We didn’t have a lot of carryover in this area. We also saw some people in the area make a late decision to plow up their hay stands to plant row crops after we got that late frost. And now production is going to be short because of all the dry weather. I don’t see how prices can drop off much if at all.”
People needing to buy hay should get into the market early, he says. “I’ve already been getting a lot of calls from established customers and new customers, too. It won’t pay anyone to procrastinate this year. If you know you’re going to need hay, you’ll want to call your supplier as soon as possible.”
To contact Brogan at L.J. Hay, Inc., call 800-622-9902 or 330-223-1000.