The bermudagrass hay crop is finally starting to come on in east-central Louisiana after a slow start due to extremely dry weather, reports Ben Taunton, Jonesville.

“Things are looking up right now,” he says. “We had a 10-day stretch, starting around July 7, where we were getting ½-1” of rain every day and that really helped. And we’ve had some other showers since. Before that, it had been pretty poor. Production on our first crop was about 60% of normal, and second crop wasn’t much better.

“If the weather continues to cooperate, we could have a good third cutting. And on some fields we could even get a fourth.”

Taunton puts most of his hay into small square bales weighing 60-65 lbs. He sells to the horse market throughout most of the state, from Shreveport to Baton Rouge.

Short production, strong demand and higher input costs – especially diesel and fertilizer costs – have helped push up hay prices in Taunton’s area compared to what they were a year ago. Depending on quality, small squares are currently bringing $5.50-7/bale in the field. A year ago, the range was closer to $4.50-6.25/bale.

To contact Taunton, call 318-613-7881 or 318-386-7825.