Weather has been delaying first-crop harvest in many parts of the Northeast. It’s lead New York hay dealer Chris Oliver to travel farther than usual to line up supplies of quality horse hay.

“Last year and the year before, people in our area were making hay in May,” he says. “This year, it’s been so wet that most people didn’t really get going until we were well into June. Everybody is running about two to three weeks behind.”

Oliver and his wife, Donna, operate DBA Hay Express, near Burke. In a typical year, they buy 90,000-100,000 small square bales of grass hay, weighing 40-50 lbs each, from 10-15 growers in upstate New York. This year, though, they’ve been traveling up to 200 miles to find first-crop supplies.

The couple sells to small horse-farm owners and feed stores throughout New England, from northern Vermont to Connecticut. Currently, 40-lb bales of quality, mixed-grass hay bring $7/ bale. Fifty-pound bales are fetching $7.50 each. “That’s 25-50¢/bale more than they were selling for at this time last year,” Oliver notes.

Once the weather settles down, they estimate that prices will stabilize at, or near, current levels. “In a lot of places, the grass is waist-high,” Oliver says. “We’ll have plenty of hay if people can just get it put up.”

To contact him, call 518-335-9787 or email oliver071@yahoo.com.


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