Friday, November 2, 2007

Hay Shortage

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).


equestrian1 said...

We here in SE Georgia are having so much trouble with regard to hay. Personally, I am having a hay crisis.

I bought five round bales, which should have gotten me through the winter--only to find that they were baled wet!!!!!

Now, there is NO MORE hay to buy and I am just out the money. And, what hacks me off even more is the stupid cow who sold me the hay KNEW it was for horses and ALSO INVITED TO ME TO CHURCH AT THE SAME TIME!!!!!

Now, I am in a fix because I am having to wash this hay and I have a young colt whom I planned to feed alfalfa cubes (soaked) upon his arrival BUT HE DOESN'T LIKE IT!!! HE ONLY WANTS BERMUDA GRASS!!!!!



equestrian1 said...


Just an update on my previous rant:

My colt did finally eat his alfalfa cubes last night so I think he has decided this is indeed "hay."

I do have another feed, which I feed to my easy-keeper mare. It is Mannapro's "Complete Horse 10," which I found a few months ago at a Wal-Mart (of all places). It is designed to use in situations just like this. I think I pay $7.88 a bag for it and it works really well for her, as she is such an easy-keeper and doesn't really do a whole lot of work. Anyway, perhaps that is a product that could help some readers weather this storm.

Of course, I now have a whole lot of hay that is good for nothing except, perhaps, to mulch my garden with. I find it really appalling that people could take advantage of desperate horse owners as we try to keep our animals fed until a good harvest can be brought in! Still, I guess I am lucky in that I just have the two to worry about and not an entire herd.

Let's hope it rains just enough to where we can return to the days where hay was both good and plentiful!


AHDF President said...

If you are feeding alfalfa cubes for the first time and your horse doesn't seem to want to eat them here is a helpful hint.

The cubes are VERY hard and horses may have a hard time chewing them or may balk at chewing them. You can dip them in water, do NOT soak them as they will mold, to soften them and get the great alfalfa smell going. That should entice your horse to try them.

If that doesn't work, just keep trying by throwing a few into their feed and eventually they will accept them. Do not feed your horses moldy alfalfa cubes any more than you would feed moldy hay. It can cause health problems.