Still scrambling to find hay before the winter-feeding season sets in? Check out online hay directories based in the southeastern U.S. Although drought conditions crimped hay production in parts of that region this summer, timely rains in other areas allowed for a surplus.
Listings on Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension’s Mississippi Hay Directory are up by nearly 60% this fall compared to those of a year ago, reports MSU forage specialist Rocky Lemus.
“We had a very good production year for hay in many parts of the state, but especially central Mississippi,” he says. “Quite a few growers have surplus supplies to put on the market.”
Hay acreage in the state was up by 30,000 acres in 2012 compared to the previous year’s amount, according to MSU Extension ag economist John Michael Riley. If yields are consistent with the state’s average of 2.42 tons/acre, he says, state 2012 hay production would be 1.82 million tons. In 2011, 1.73 million tons of hay were produced in the state.
Most of the hay being offered through the Hay Directory is in 4 x 5’ round bales of bahiagrass or bermudagrass ranging from $25 to $45/bale at the farm. “Some of the sellers might be able to arrange transportation or delivery,” says Lemus.
To date, most of the hay moving out of state appears to be headed for Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Upper Midwestern states. “We’re a little closer to those states than other parts of the Southeast are. That could make transportation costs less of an issue.”
Mississippi is within the federal quarantine area for fire ants, he reminds potential out-of-state buyers. They should ask sellers for proof that the hay they’re buying has been inspected and certified by the Mississippi Bureau of Plant Industry.
Other southeastern states also provide online hay sources:
In Alabama, Alabamahaybarn.com carries statewide hay listings and was developed and maintained by the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Hay and Forage Crops Division. Along with brief descriptions of the hay being offered, listings give details on bale type and size and information on how the hay has been stored.
Georgia’s 2012 Hay Directory is available through the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. County-by-county hay listings include growers’ names, locations, contact information, hay types, quantities available and whether sellers provide nutrient-testing information and/or transportation assistance.
Kentucky hay producers who have their hay tested can list surplus supplies on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Hay For Sale site. In-state and out-of-state buyers can search for hay by county, hay type and relative feed value. Sellers can post photos of hay being offered. Listings generally remain on the site for one year. In a separate program – the Kentucky Hay Hotline – growers from around the country can list untested hay for sale.