BEEF Daily

Winter Hay Prices Ramp Up


What are you paying for hay in your area?

winter cattle feed pricesSomeone must have been wishing pretty hard for a white Christmas around my area because we were surprised with 5 in. of snow earlier this week. Our cows had been happily grazing in a cornfield about a mile from home, and we were hauling water every day since there aren’t any stock dams nearby. But the snow and cold front forced us to bring the herd home early.

So, yesterday, my family headed out with four-wheelers and pickups to round up the herd and head them down the road. And, although we now have to feed hay and chop ice, I suppose we should feel blessed about the much-needed moisture we’ve received, and that we were able to graze affordable cornstalks so late into the year.

See a photo gallery of moving cows home here.

Cattle feed and hay prices are going to be a major factor for folks through the coming winter months.

According to KPC News, “There have been numerous effects from the 2012 drought and one of those has been on the supply and price of hay. Everyone who buys or sells hay knows that hay prices dramatically changed in 2012. Most reports say hay is selling for two to five times more than it did in 2011. The reason the price is so high is because the supply is so low.

“Jerry Lindquist, Michigan State Extension grazing and crop management educator, says that, in his 21 years of operating the Michigan Hay Sellers List, this is the smallest amount of hay ever offered. The culprit is the 2012 drought, which reduced hay supplies by 15-30% across the Midwest. Compound that with fewer hay acres available overall, and it is easy to understand that there is very little hay still left for sale. With the strong demand and low supply, Lindquist would estimate that 85% of the 2012 hay crop to be sold is already gone.”

How are weather conditions in your neck of the woods? Are you feeding hay to your cows already? How’s your stockpile going to hold up if this drought continues? Or, if you’re buying hay, what are the prices for this common cattle feed?


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Discuss this Blog Entry 8

Terry G (not verified)
on Dec 20, 2012

We have been feeding hay since Dec 15. Usually we have stockpile grass to go int Jan. Should have enought hay. Some hay available locally and price is not too bad. Nice set of Cows Amanda.

Shirley Betzner (not verified)
on Dec 20, 2012

We have had lots of moisture the few weeks. Swamps and ditches are full of standing water. We have 50 cows.. and finish the calves. We have 100 acres of hay, and feed hay all year round, as well as sell to local horse owners. Our second cut suffered, but went on to get a great third cut, and although our inventory is down, we will be ok. The hay we do have for sale.. to our loyal customers.... is $5 a bale for small squares and $85 for a 4X5... 840lb (roughly) large round.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 20, 2012

No offense Shirley, but where are you? As I write this I look out the window at a ground blizzard and minus 45 degrees chill factor. Here on the high plains of Wyoming we do have a serious hay shortage and without some serious snow pack in the mountains and wet snow this coming spring there will be no cattle left in this part of the country at this time next year.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 20, 2012

We live in central Nebraska. Our cows are mostly on stocks and supplementing some with lick tubs. It is extremely dry although we did receive about 2 inches of snow last night. We will be fine on feed for the rest of the winter but if the dry conditions continue come spring we will have a really tough time maintaining are cow herd. Baled cornstalks in the field are going for 90 to a 100 in the field and alfalfa is 170 to who knows where!!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 20, 2012

We baled barley straw last spring; have often baled it for bedding but this year we baled it with the intention of 'feeding' it and that is now happening. Along with some expensive protein cubes, this will allow us to maintain the herd. Might need to wean the fall calves very early to allow cows to maintain condition. Have had 0.3 inches of rain here in SW Oklahoma since late September, so small grains pasture is not available.

Joe C. Paschal (not verified)
on Dec 20, 2012

I am in South Texas and we have been in severe drought for 2 years. Just this week penned up my cows and began to feed hay and whole cottonseed. First time in 5 years to feed hay, no rain, stubble at 50% or less. Light stocking and rotational grazing will work but we really need a rain! Grass (Coastal Bermuda or Gordo Bluestem) hay $100-150 plus $20-25 delivery per ton.

ELrod (not verified)
on Dec 22, 2012

Lamar County Texas 60.00 $ for 900lb rolls of costal bermuda and 140.00 $ per ton on alfalfa square blocks. We stocked up during the second cutting this year and are sitting pretty until April.

Shirley Betzner (not verified)
on Dec 27, 2012

To the person above who asked where I was from.... we live in Southern Ontario Canada. (Near Hamilton to be precise). Until last night.... we have had NO snow, and above minus conditions mostly. Maybe winter is here finally.

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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