High-quality horse hay continues to command good prices throughout the southeastern U.S., reports grower Clayton Geralds of Munfordville, KY.
“The demand for the real good hay is super strong,” he says. “I could sell way more than I have. There just isn’t enough of it around this year.”
Less-than-ideal weather throughout the growing season largely limited quality supplies in the region.
“It was a very wet year, and that made things a challenge. We ended up rolling a lot more of our hay than we normally do. The yields were good, though. We averaged around 7 tons/acre, which is pretty good for alfalfa in central Kentucky. But the quality was down overall.”
Alfalfa, alfalfa-orchardgrass and timothy are mainstays of the 800 hay acres Geralds works with his wife, Molly, and son, Christopher. They market to horse owners in Kentucky, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. This year, the family put up 106,000 small square bales weighing around 65 lbs each.
As of early December, top-quality horse hay in the region was selling for $300/ton at the barn, about the same as it was a year ago. What Geralds calls “mediocre hay” is selling for around $250/ton, down $20-40/ton compared to last year’s price. “There’s a lot of that kind of hay out there. It’s not bad hay; it’s just not real good hay. Prices for it would be even lower if there were more of the real good stuff available.”
He expects prices to remain at current levels for most of the winter. “I suppose you could see some people trying to get a little more for the real good hay if the supply is extremely short once we get into late February and March.”
Price hikes aren’t something he’s considering, though. “I have very loyal, longtime customers, and $300 is a good, fair price. Any more than that would be gouging.”
The Geralds can be contacted at 270-528-1238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Gerald’s views on tedding, see our story, “Why You Should Try Tedding Alfalfa.”
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