Producing small square hay bales is turning into a niche market of sorts for grower Darryl Lehmitz, West Jordan, UT.

“There are fewer and fewer producers in our area putting up the small square bales because of the handling and labor involved,” says Lehmitz, who started his first cutting last week. “But they’re still very popular with horse owners. A lot of them don’t have the equipment that’s required to handle and feed the larger bales.”

That has translated into good demand for the 65-lb alfalfa bales that he puts up on 80 irrigated acres and sells to horse owners in the Salt Lake City area. Last year, he sold out of hay by November. “That was unusual for us. I try to have hay on hand year-round. Even after our supply was gone, we kept getting calls through the winter and spring. People told us they just weren’t able to find the small bales anywhere.”

He expects to hold this year’s prices at last year’s level of about $230/ton, or around $7.50/bale. That was up $10-15/ton from 2011 prices.

To contact Lehmitz, call 801-718-3327or email darryllehmitz@yahoo.com.

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