This has been a very hard year for parts of our country. Many areas have been hit with extreme drought conditions, while other areas have been hit hard with flooding. In the areas where there has been drought there was no second hay cutting and the cost of hay has gone through the roof. I know we are hearing about larger than normal owner surrenders and even some rescues giving up or going under.
I know in my area we have gotten a little rain lately, but it came too late to help with hay. Tonight we are expecting our first frost of the year meaning there will be no chance to get more hay from our recent rains. Hay prices have doubled and are expected to rise more the later in the season it gets. Where there is hay, the brokers are buying it up to ship around the country. Rescues and horse owners are feeling the pinch. However there is an answer.
Some enterprising individual has put together a website where people can list and find hay. The prices may be a bit higher and you may have shipping costs, but at least you can find it. I was able to locate some myself. If you have friends and neighbors having similar problems perhaps you can share the shipping costs to make it more affordable. Visit the Internet Hay Exchange and put in your state and it should return a number of listings. Try first to locate hay as close to you as possible to save on those shipping costs or to pick up the hay yourself. Also, remember the more you buy the bigger the discount and you can negotiate with these guys.
If you seriously cannot afford the hay prices or just cannot find any Tractor Supply and other feed stores often sell alfalfa cubes or other forage supplements. At the end of last winter I was forced to rely on these to get us through. However, often later in the season they run low on these, so you may want to stock up. Last winter we weren't able to get these for weeks because of snow and depleted supplies. So, in addition to the hay we are planning on buying several bags of these in case of emergency. You may want to do that as well.
I know our pasture usually has grass until well into the winter, but this year we are down to dirt. We are going to have to replant in the spring so we have enough grass. If you are like me you may also want to buy some year end grass seed. I am sure that it will be in short supply in the spring. If you don't have horses, but your lawn suffered because of the droughts you may also want to buy some grass seed now. In the spring it will be far more costly. Just remember to store it carefully for spring planting.
I know that it will be a long hard winter, but we can all make it through if we are committed (or should be LOL).