Everyone knows we had more than our fair share of weather swings in 2019.
After having one of the wettest winters in history, followed by a wet spring, the water shut off mid summer, leaving pastures bare and hayfields crispy brown.
Too much water limited hay making opportunities early in the year. The drought was a double edged sword, limiting fall hay production while also causing most cattle operations to begin feeding hay much earlier than normal.
While we dealt with drought, the rest of the country had too much water, limiting hay production in those areas. It was just plain difficult to get hay made in any quantity in the U.S. in 2019.
To make matters even worse, we came out of last winter with record low carry over hay supplies.
Needless to say hay supplies appear to be tight. Extremely tight. Unless it already has been reserved somehow, higher quality “Horse type” square bale hay basically is nonexistent.
Lower quality round bales seemed to have some availability earlier in the winter, but even the supply on those have tightened up in recent weeks.
Proving supplies are low and demand is high, there have been some pretty outrageous prices at hay auctions across the state already this winter.
If you think you are going to be short on hay, you need to find additional supplies now, if you still can, and expect to pay a premium for it.
A good place to look is the Kentucky Department of Ag Hay Directory online.
If you can’t find the additional supply you need, then do what you can to conserve what you have. Unroll or limit feed hay to reduce waste, limit feed a commodity type feed that is high in fiber, such as Soybean Hull Pellets to reduce hay needs and intake, or look at culling some animals to reduce hay demand.