May 01, 2013

Y- Yields

Hay yields are low throughout the west due to the drought. Right now hay prices are insane, I’m a new horse owner so I don’t remember the good ole days when hay was $2-$4 a bale. If that were the case today, I could feed Dani for an entire year for $520, that’s at 130 bales!! I’m counting year round haying too, no pasture in my equation. Right now as it stands it could cost up to $1917 to feed her for an entire year based on $14.75 per bale. Pretty big difference!! I would like to save a few dollars per bale and get that number down a bit. I’ve seen hay priced at $4 or so in other states…. I doubt that the hay prices will yield and lower in the next year or so.

I’ve been pricing hay because once Dani is moved to her new home I’ll be providing her the hay. The ranch owner feeds alfalfa to her horses and though I’ve read many good things about alfalfa I don’t think it’s what I want Dani on. She’s an easy keeper and doesn’t need the extra calories, I’d rather her eat more of a lower valued grass hay to keep that mouth of hers busy. The extra protein is excreted in her urine and I’d have to adjust her vitamins to balance out the extra calcium she’ll be getting from alfalfa and honestly, I don’t want to do that. I think if I’m paying good money for a quality forage most of it should go into the horse, no peeing out that precious protein!! I’m extremely leery of switching her right now. I want to get her weight down a little bit and I don’t think alfalfa will help that cause. You can ask 10 different people about alfalfa and get 10 different opinions. I don’t think it’s bad or good, just not the best choice for my mare at this time.

I went to a local big change feed store and bought a bale of timothy to switch Dani to. I had plans to get about 20 or so more bales to tide us over until first cut when the interested members Kit Carson club could potentially get together and form a co-op to purchase bulk hay. I’ll get into that in a second. The bale on display and then one I ended up with looked very different. You can see the hay on the left is not as “nice” looking as the current hay, on the right, that Dani is eating. I’m not happy but I only bought one bale, glad I didn’t get a pickup load! I’ll be trying another place this week to see if the quality is better, it appears to be but an in person inspection will be the best way to tell. I can’t find anyone who tests their hay!

The cooperative…so this is something that I suggested in an email to Kit Carson members when trying to find information on hay sources for right now. I received about 6+ emails of people wanting hay and interested in a co-op. Many are needing 300 or so bales!! We could easily get together and probably get a deal on a couple semi-loads of hay. The only thing is I’ve never done this, not sure how to assess hay if there are no test results and the hay is several states away!! I guess my idea is to email everyone that has contacted me and perhaps begin a committee for the club.

What to do for start up?

• Determine type of hay and quantity/weight that each member needs

• Add up total amount and begin contacting local and other suppliers, check out local hay auctions too since that could be an avenue

• Determine cost of each hay bale that includes shipping

• Decide on best deal (best quality of hay for price)

o Keep a running list of good suppliers for future purchases and “off season” purchases for new members or members in need of hay

• Collect money from all members in co-op

• Print receipts with hay amount to be picked up for each member

• Pay for and schedule delivery of hay to KCRC grounds

• Arrange a schedule for each member to pick up their hay at a certain time (that way the grounds aren’t over crowded)

We’ll see how this goes and if this is the way the club would like to go!


K.K. said...

$14.75 a bale!! That is insane!! We were upset when we bought a pickup load of $8 bales! We usually feed big round bales,but we keep small squares incase hubby is gone for work and they run out of hay. And the ground is so soft and muddy we can't get a big bale out there. Last weekend we went and bought a trailer load of about 100 bales at $2 a bale. It's not the best hay I've seen, but it keeps them busy and their stomachs full.
And I am with you about alfalfa. I've heard that it is too hot of a feed to be giving to horses. But my vet says that's what he would reccomend. And the vet that I am getting my new horse from feeds probably the best alfalfa I've ever seen to his horses. I just still don't know if it's right for my ponies!

Reddunappy said...

I just paid 16.75 for alfalfa, was the least expensive, for now. They are getting pasture now so its not so bad. Last grass I bought was 19.00 a bale, 3 string 140lb. Hay is expensive! In July I will get my Winter supply of local hay again, should be $3 a bale, in the field. Our local hay is not the highest quality only 6-8% protien, small 50lb bales. I got 130 bales last July, lasted me 7 months with 3 horses. Still have to have some alfalfa to supplement the old mare.

Christie Maszkiewicz said...

LOL. I would be delighted to find $8 bales!

I just found some pretty good hay, 70 lb bales, $14.50 so got 30 bales to start. Hopefully this years cut from the mountains will be better priced or the co-op deal with the club works out and we can get some good hay deals. Where do you all live that you can get $2 or $3 bales! WOW!!! See those are the bales I think would be cheaper even if one were to add the semi truck shipping fee!!

K.K. said...

I am in eastern North Dakota, but we went over to Minnesota to get the $2 bales. Like I said they aren't the best bales ever, but they get the job done! We almost made it through the winter on free hay though! My bosses, and my father in law lined up big round bales for us. I was totally shocked when my boss came up and said that he had 8 round bales for me if I wanted them! I work for a farm and they don't have livestock so he thought I would want them! It was nice to get them, especially with the hay shortage!