With supplies extremely plentiful, prices for lower-quality grass hay are tanking this fall in most parts of Missouri, reports producer-dealer Bill Garrett of Garrett Hay, Golden City. “You can go on Craigslist and see ad after ad after ad for round bales of grass hay with a price of $20-40/bale. Just a year ago, that kind of hay was bringing $50-70. I really didn’t expect that kind of drop in just one year. The costs of fuel, fertilizer and other inputs haven’t dropped that much.”
He grows alfalfa-orchardgrass hay on 300 acres and prairie grass, brome and fescue on another 1,000 acres. His large and small squares and large round bales, as well as hay bought and resold, are mostly marketed within 300 miles from home.
The quality of Garrett’s alfalfa this year was “the poorest we’ve ever had. It was just too wet to make dairy-quality hay.”
Currently, in Garrett's area, alfalfa with an RFV of more than 200 is running $300/ton delivered. “That’s if you can find it. There’s just so little of it available.”
For 150-180 RFV alfalfa, prices range around $225-275, depending on the hay’s color. Second and third cuttings of alfalfa-grass hay are selling for less than $1 per point of RFV. “A lot of the mixed hay is more grass than alfalfa because of the abundance of moisture we had this year.”
Premium grass hay is selling well. “For brome in small squares we’re still getting $200/ton in the local horse market. It’s pretty scarce.”
Garrett believes a turn in the weather could help the overall market pick up. “If we get some snow, the supply could shrink pretty quickly. I don’t see us running out of hay, but there are a lot of cattle out there. (Beef producers) have been hanging onto their calves, and there’s a tremendous demand for cows right now. Maybe I’m just more optimistic than a lot of people right now.”
To contact Garrett, call 417-825-1403 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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