Horse hay prices in east-central Louisiana remain on a firm footing heading into the winter months, reports grower Ben Taunton, Jonesville.

“For good-quality hay, the prices are staying right up there,” says Taunton, noting that 2013 was a good year for production in the region. “The weather was pretty cooperative overall. We had adequate moisture, and the rains were timely. And we had fewer 100-degree days than we’ve had in the last couple years.”

He puts up hybrid bermudagrass on 75 acres. Most of his hay is in small square bales weighing 60-65 lbs. He sells to the horse market throughout the state, from Shreveport to Baton Rouge.

During the growing season, good-quality horse hay in Taunton’s area was bringing $6.50/bale in the field. “Horse hay prices here have stayed pretty much the same over the last two years,” Taunton says. “If you have good hay, you won’t have a problem selling it.”

He charges fees for delivery based on distance from his farm and whether or not customers have equipment he can use to stack the hay in their barns. If they don’t, Taunton brings his skid-steer loader and a grapple hook. “It’s really kind of a break-even proposition. But it helps build customer loyalty. People know that when they buy hay from me, the hay is going to be there in the barn, and they don’t have to worry about it. Good service counts for a lot in this business.”

To contact Taunton, call 318-613-7881 or 318-386-7825 or email rbtaunton@gmail.com.

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