Hay has become quite the hot topic this fall, & not in a good way. due to unprecedented rainfall this past May. Many farmers were unable to get their first cutting’s off the fields until it was time for the second cutting to be done. Most farmers also experienced a very small second cutting, so most hay stores are only half full at this time with possibly one more cutting this year. There is a very large predicted shortfall in hay for this winter & the prices reflect that.
Last year we were paying $50/round bale with a $12/bale delivery fee ($62 total), and when we had to get small squares it was $4/bale with $2/bale delivery fee ($6 total bale), Alfalfa was a high country out of state that was costing $13/75# bale. This year prices are already running $75/round & $9/square. We aren’t even sure if we can get our normal alfalfa this year.
We have a tenancy to go thru a lot of hay. Each horse will go thru about 10 square bales a month if we can’t find any round bales. we prefer round since it allows us to free feed the hay without as much monitoring or restocking. we use approximately a round bales a week. As a herd they went thru $300/month in hay during the previous winter (December 15th 2018 to April 1st 2019), due to costs it doesn’t really matter what we buy, round or square as it is about the same cost, Round bales allow us to place hay less frequently & allows us to plan ahead when the weather forecast turns nasty.
We are currently looking into fundraising ideas to help alleviate the cost but one thing is almost certain, we will be hanging out in the big pasture as long as we can.