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For more than 21 years, the Michigan Hay Sellers List has been bringing buyers and sellers of hay together. Much of Michigan received ample rainfall in the growing season of 2014, and hay yields rebounded substantially from the previous two dry summers. As the hay harvest season comes to a close, it does appear there will be surplus supplies of some types of hay. Hay marketing will become more challenging than it has been over the last few years as a result.
The high-quality alfalfa hays that did not get rained on will be one of the few hay types that will still be in short supply this year. The summer harvest season was plagued with not enough, sunny, hay-drying days in 2014. For much of Michigan, first cutting in June was delayed by wet weather, followed by overcast days in much of July and August. A lot of hay that was intended for dry hay in mid-summer was rained on and eventually harvested as haylage, balage or made into a low-quality, weathered baled hay. High-quality dry alfalfa hays that were successfully harvested without rain or delay are still running $180-$250 per ton, when they can be found. Also, horse hays in small square bales that are mold- and dust-free are still hard to find and are bringing from $175-$310 per ton depending upon location in Michigan.
According to Michigan State University Extension forage team members, there seems to be good supplies of most other types of hays, and prices have fallen dramatically from the past few years. We again are seeing large price spreads between low-quality and high-quality hays. During the dry years, any type of hay, regardless of quality, was bringing a premium price, whereas now only quality hay is bringing that higher price.
First cutting hays that have some grass in them, are late harvested/over mature, and maybe got rained on are in abundance this year. These hays are testing below 10% crude protein in many instances and are priced below $100 per ton, with some selling as low as $65-$80 per ton in round bale form. The large harvest of these types of hay along with the falling grain prices is putting downward pressure on these low-quality hays.
Each year over $1 million of hay is listed for sale on the Michigan Hay Seller’s List. To find alfalfa and or timothy small squared baled hay that is dust-free within 50 miles of home, or that premium quality alfalfa second cutting in big square bales for under $240 per ton, the list makes the hunt much easier.
Anyone seeking hay to buy can go to The Michigan Hay Sellers List and search for the specific hay they desire, whether it be high-quality alfalfa, mixed hay, horse quality timothy or even birdsfoot trefoil. They can simultaneously search for bale type such as small squares, big squares or round bales. They can also select which cutting is desired, be it first, second, third or maybe others. The search will generate the list of producers that have hay of these specific parameters for sale, the location of the hay and the asking price for the hay.
Anyone wishing to list hay for sale can go to the same website. Just follow the directions and go to the “help” icon at the top of the entry page if more clarification is needed.
All asking prices are listed on a per ton basis. This is done to be sure that transactions are made on a fair, standard basis. There is no charge for buyers or sellers. To keep the listings current, each listing is posted for only four months.
The Hay Sellers List is sponsored by MSU Extension with support from the Michigan Forage Council, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Michigan Farm Bureau.
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension.