Plentiful local supplies have kept hay prices in check across the board in recent months at the weekly St. Louis, MI, hay auctions of United Producers, Inc., a Manchester, MI, livestock cooperative.

“It’s a lot different than what we saw last year when we were dealing with the aftereffects of the drought,” says auction manager Doug Brooks. “This past summer, we had excellent growing weather. The supply locally is up.”

Through the winter and early spring, United has moved 3,000-4,000 small squares of hay through each of its Monday sales. Alfalfa is selling for $4-6.50 per 50-lb bale. A year ago, the price was closer to $10/bale.

Small squares of alfalfa-grass have sold for $3-5.50/bale. That compares to a year-ago price of $9. For large rounds of grass and alfalfa, averaging 800-900 lbs each, this year’s price has been in the $30-60/bale range. “Last year, alfalfa in the large rounds was bringing up to $130/bale.”

Brooks believes there’s room for prices to strengthen, but that any increases are likely to be on the small side. “We had a hard winter, so people were feeding up lots of hay. But there also still seems to be plenty of hay around in our area.”

The Manchester weekly hay sale is held at 12:30 p.m. each Monday year-round. United Producers, Inc., with members in six states, also conducts a Monday hay auction beginning at 11 a.m.

To contact Brooks, call 734-428-8353 or email dbrooks@uproducers.com.