“The ‘Hay Market Listings’ on the Internet just expanded to include forages not normally traded,” says Joe Horner, University of Missouri Extension economist.
Various forms of corn, soybean and rice forage were added to the traditional list of baled hay offered on the Agricultural Electronic Bulletin Board of the MU Commercial Agriculture program.
The new listings are in response to the drought that reduced Missouri’s hay supply this summer. Listings added are soybean baleage, corn stover, corn silage, corn hay (dry), corn baleage and rice hay.
“Missouri is short a million tons of hay for this winter,” Horner says. “Dairy and beef producers are desperate to find feed or they will have to sell herds.”
Farmers can buy hay or offer it for sale with no service charge through the online hay list, a joint effort of MU and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
Listings provide detailed descriptions of forages, includes bale type (round or square), number of bales, weight of each, and nutrient and nitrate test results, if available. Offerings can be sorted by the source region of the state or nation.
“We will be moving a lot of unconventional forages,” Horner says. “It will help if we can cut down the distances to be hauled.” Regardless of how bales are priced, compare on the basis of dollars per ton of dry matter, he strongly urges. On the MU dairy “Feeds and Nutrition” Web page, Horner has posted a calculator that allows producers to put in weight per bale and moisture content to determine cost per ton of dry matter.
“It’s a very simple formula you can do on a pocket calculator. Buyers haggle over the price down the last dime and then lose out by paying for water instead of dry matter.”
The openness of pricing is an advantage of the Hay Market Listings, Horner says. “By checking the list and comparison shopping, you can get an idea of a fair price for the forage you need. Already, I’ve seen what looks like price gouging in some places.”
Hay sellers from other states can list their forage for sale, he says.
A word of caution about buying bales from the far South: make sure hay is certified against fire ants.
All forage should be tested for nutrient and nitrate contents before feeding, Horner advises cattle owners.
The hay listings are at agebb.missouri.edu/haylst.
The dairy feeds Web site is at agebb.missouri.edu/dairy/feed.