Supply side shortages continue to pressure prices at weekly hay sales at United Producers, Inc., a Manchester, MI, livestock cooperative.

Round bales of good alfalfa-grass hay, weighing around 750 lbs, have been selling for $120-130/bale recently, according to auction manager Doug Brooks. A year ago, hay of similar quality was bringing $35-40/bale. Small square bales, at about 40 lbs each, have mostly been bringing $7-10/bale, depending on quality. “That’s about double what it was a year ago,” says Brooks.

A 2012 drought-induced production shortfall played a big role in the price run-up. “On my own farm, I had about one-third of a normal hay crop last year,” says Brooks. “That was pretty representative of our immediate area. Things were a little bit better in the northern part of the state. But, even there, a lot of people only got two-thirds of their normal production.”

Brooks expects prices to stay on the strong side until moisture levels improve. “Things improved a little bit over the winter. But, in a lot of places, we’re going to need a lot more moisture to get anything close to a normal crop.”

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 at St. Louis, MI, beginning at 11 a.m.

To contact Brooks, call 735-428-8353 or email dbrooks@uproducers.com.