The supply of good-quality horse hay in western New York is dwindling quickly, and prices are responding accordingly, reports Bruce Thorp, Walworth.

With his son, Robert, Thorp grows alfalfa-timothy hay on 150-200 acres annually. They feed most of what they produce to a 40-cow dairy herd, but also sell around 1,000 small square bales each month to local horse stables and recreational horse owners. “It’s an important part of our income,” says Thorp.

When dry weather crimped their 2012 production, the Thorps couldn’t meet the needs of all of their customers. “In other years when that’s happened, we’ve been able to find other hay supplies to bring in. This year, though, the supply is extremely tight. It’s hard to find hay anywhere, and whatever is available is priced very high. We’ve had to let some customers go.”

Currently, a small square bale of alfalfa-grass hay, weighing around 45 lbs, sells for as much as $9 in his area. “Even the poorer stuff is bringing $5/bale,” he says. “A year ago, you could buy good hay for $3/bale, sometimes less.”

To contact Thorp, call 315-986-1416.

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