With supplies tight and prices pushing upward, hay is a challenge to find for horse owners, too. Phil Kaatz, Michigan State University Extension educator, suggests the following when trying to shore up hay supplies:
Know how much hay you need. Most horses will consume approximately 2-2.2% of their body weight per day in forage.
Calculate feed losses when figuring hay needs. "These losses can be 5-50% depending on the type of feeding system you have for your horses," Kaatz notes. Hay fed on the ground with no rack incurs the highest losses.
Assess total costs. In addition to the price of the hay, you'll also need to consider transportation and labor costs associated with getting it to your barn or storage area.
Utilize listing services. Ag departments, university Extension offices and hay-grower associations in many states maintain lists of growers with horse hay for sale. In Michigan, buyers may want to check out the Michigan Hay Sellers List.