Compared to those of a month earlier, prices for higher-end grass and alfalfa hay were steady to stronger at the Centennial Livestock Auctions’ April 26 hay sale in Fort Collins, CO. Prices for lower-quality hay fell off sharply.

A load of grass hay in small square bales topped the market at $400/ton. “It was exceptional hay,” says auction owner Wayne Kruse. For the most part, better-quality small squares sold in the $300-350/ton range. One load of 3 x 3 x 8’ bales of grass hay brought $350/ton.

Lower-quality hay at that sale brought $70-130/ton, down $20-40/ton from prices reported at the March sale. “It’s that time of year when people are getting ready to turn their livestock onto grass,” says Kruse. “They don’t really need hay. They’re just buying to have a little on hand. We had a lot of buyers at the sale, but there weren’t a lot of volume buyers.”

He expects prices for the lower-quality hay to continue drifting downward in coming weeks. “There are always surprises in the auction business, but I can’t see anything right now that would take prices for that kind of hay any higher.”

Better-quality hay will likely hold its value at least until new crop comes on. “Green is the name of the game this time of year,” he says. “Good hay that was put in the shed or under a tarp right after it was baled should continue to bring a good price. There wasn’t a lot of it put up in this area last year because of all the rain we had during the growing season.”

Centennial holds its hay auction on the last Saturday of the month year-round. The next sale will be May 31 starting at 10 a.m. To contact Kruse, call 970-482-6207.