As winter sets in, hay growers locally as well as regionally are seeing demand rise for their crop; prices are staying steady with some markets rising slightly. A lot of hay is moving out of the area, mostly south.Posted 12/06/13
By Pat Ratliff
Many growers locally got extra hay this summer because of plentiful rain, meaning more hay to feed or sell.
Carl Micka is a hay broker and has been buying some local hay.
“There’s some good quality hay around, and some a little less because of rain,” he said. “Many ranchers have said they have some extra to sell this year.
“That should work out well, because I think some areas south of us are going to be short of feed this winter.
“I’ve got more hay than usual this year,” Roy Rutherford of Regent said. “I’m selling everything direct.
Although Rutherford had a “heavy year,” he said he had all his hay sold before he cut it.
“I’ve had to stretch out the area I’m selling to,” he said. “I’m selling into South Dakota, Montana, Iowa and Wyoming.”
Many in those areas are quick to buy our local hay.
“I’ve been hauling pretty steady for over a month now,” Jon Haab, a trucker from Dickinson said. “Most of the loads I’ve hauled have been going into South Dakota but I’ve made a few trips to the west.”
He said he’s been hauling some pretty good quality hay and the buyers are pleased with what they receive.
“They seem to like the hay from here,” he said.
The price seems good too.
“I got $90 for some good grass hay,” Rutherford said. “I think one guy got $100 for some straight alfalfa hay.”
With storms moving in and roads getting worse, Rutherford says he wants to keep the hay moving.
“It’s time to get it out,” he said. “Keep the hay moving every day. It’s time it should be gone.”
Haab says a lot of growers have been calling with loads to haul.
“I’ve had more loads than I can haul,” he said. “I’m just going as fast as I can.
“I’ve had no time off for a while, but I’ll get enough of that this winter,” he said.
Hay market reports had South Dakota hay prices as steady to $7.50 higher this week. But there were few reported sales last week due to the holiday.
They report good demand for dairy quality hay, yet dairies are buying hand to mouth as other feedstuff costs have come down. The tighter supply of high quality hay is rather tight keeping the price from softening.
In South Dakota there is much more lower quality forages available, especially corn stalks as the weather cleared long enough last week to allow baling of corn residue to get completed.
As of last week, there was no snow cover across the state allowing cattle to be out on grass or crop residue fields without the need for any supplemental feeding, but that will change as the storms continue this week.