Friday, January 28, 2011

More on the Search for Hay

In my last post I found out that hay at the local feed store is priced at $18 a bale.  Technically, it was $18 and something cents, but who counts the change when it gets that high?  My husband and I did the calculations for what we paid for the last block of 76 bales we bought, and realized that we had been paying around $15 a bale.  That's still too high with me being out of work and my husband getting a 5% pay cut, so today we drove around the valley looking for signs on the side of the road advertising hay.  Most farmers don't bother paying for ads.  They just put a sign on the front of their property.

We were disappointed to find that many of the farms that have had signs up all year suddenly have taken them down, which means that they ran out.  We found three signs in all, and I called the phone numbers when we got home.  I had to leave a message at the first two numbers, but someone picked up at the third number.  It turned out that he did have some alfalfa/grass mix with three strands, but no delivery.  When I asked about the price, I nearly fainted...

...from joy.  Six dollars a bale!  How insane is that?  One place can charge $18 a bale while another place that is just a mile down the road charges only $6.  I figured something had to be seriously wrong with this hay, but drove out to look at it.  It turned out to be pretty solid 100+ pound bales that were still green because they were protected in a barn.  They were from the first cutting, so they had some weeds and thick stalks, but still pretty close to what I've been getting for $15 a bale.  So, we loaded up as many bales as would fit in the back of my truck, which was 12 bales, and drove very carefully home so as not to accidentally dump one or two on the hood of a tailgater behind us.

The sad part is that this guy probably only has a couple of dozen bales left, so if my husband is home tomorrow I might go back for more.  I'd bring my horse trailer to get it all, but I really struggled to back my truck into his tiny, narrow barn.  There's no way I could maneuver a trailer in there.

You know, there's one thing I've noticed about every hay farmer I meet.  They all walk hunched over with a limp.  It's a tough life.  It's rare to find someone who has spent his life chucking bales around who hasn't thrown out his back or knee.  This guy helped us load the bales and he pushed them with such force that he farted.  My husband and I did a real good job pretending like we didn't hear it.  I wanted to fill in the awkward silence, so I stupidly said, "How many times do you cut a year?"

I'm not kidding.  I said that.

The guy gave me a funny look and then said, "You mean how many cuttings do we do a year?"

"Uh, yes."

"Two or three, depending on how much water we get during the winter."

Next time I'm keeping my mouth shut.

23 comments:

fernvalley01 said...

BWAHAHAHA!!!!! Cup o soup on the keyboard!!!!! Glads you found at least some good hay for a decent price

Mikey said...

Oh that last part made me lol!! Glad you found some for cheaper though, that is some expensive hay up there.
I'm thinking we should go into the hay business.

Caitlin said...

Cut a year... sounds exactly like something I would say. =) Seriously, I'm always saying things that come out with a different meaning than the one I intended.

I'm glad you at least found some hay at a reasonable price. Hopefully you find more soon!

Linda said...

Oh, that is awkwardly funny, for sure! I'd say Christmas came again for you. And, I'd sure go get the rest of those bales as quick as you can, if you're happy with the quality. That year our hay was high, they were selling bales at the local feed store for about 15 or so dollars and a friend of mine picked one up--it was full of weeds, too. I could not believe it.

Jeni said...

Ok picture me sitting in front of my computer sharing a table at an ice rink snack bar area with a complete stranger. Now I read your post and burst out laughing because of your "awkward silence filler"!

I was going to suggest looking for farmer selling "hay for cattle". What i find here in ohio is that it's no different then "hay for horses" just cheaper.

Dreaming said...

I am dieing here - tears running down my face from laughter. What a great story!
And, how great to find decent hay at a good price. My guys are living up to the "hay burner" title foisted on some horses! We'll need to look for some before the grass comes in.

Johara said...

Omg, that's too funny! Something like that would've come out of my mouth too. :)

Up in Fallon we've got a local grower who is a major grower of alfalfa and alfalfa mixes. He's up to $10 a bale, no delivery. A year ago it was $7 from him, but he's consistently stayed about $5 below the 'market' price.

It was only... 3? years ago that hay was $15 at the chain feed store. Haven't been there in forever to know what it's at now. ^_^

achieve1dream said...

ROFLOL!!!!!! Oh my gosh that is soooo funny! I wonder if he even realized what you said. :D I say stuff like that all the time, unfortunately I'm horrible at hiding my embarrassment because I blush easily.

I'm glad you found some hay that was cheaper. I hope you get to go back for more. That makes me really appreciate the mixed grass hay I get for $2.50 a square bale!! :)

Vaquerogirl said...

ROFL! Oh no you DIDN"T!
Very funny!

Hay was at $7.25 earlier if you went and picked it up yourself ( a two hour drive) or you can get it at the feed store at $20. YIKES!
I guess they have to have a little meat on the bone- but really? $20 a bale.. and they don't even kiss ya.;)

Katie L. said...

Sweet deal! I feel better about the $18/bale now though. Our bales are about 40lbs, so at that price I think I'd just start buying human breakfast cereal for them!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

LMAO!!!!

Hunting for hay is no fun. I was darned tired of it by last fall.

Hopefully, the others will call you back and have just as good of deals. You will be able to buy twice as much for the same amount that you have been spending.

Delivery sounds like a problem though. Is it possible to ask at the feed store if they know of anyone who will haul hay?

I have found that having a teenage girl has is benefits. Last summer Meg called her friends and those boys could load and unload a trailer in nothing flat. I paid them $10/hour and fed them lunch.

This year I have it set up to have 'squeezes' delivered and will also have at least one semi-load of big rounds delivered. Sometimes have more horses has it's benefits.

The D-Meister said...

That is why I am proud to call you my mother.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

For those who are curious, the other two hay farmers didn't work out for now. One only sold grass hay and I use a grass/alfalfa mix. He was charging $12 a bale. The other guy didn't have any hay left at all, but he normally does supply the mix for around $10 to $13 depending on the quality. I'll use him after he gets his first cutting this year.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

ROTFLMBO!!!

I really don't know how you kept a straight face when he farted. BUt if I had been there and you asked me how many times he cut (a fart) per year, I would have been giggling like a hyena!! Betcha glad I wasn't! lol!

Hooray for finding some dirt cheap bales of great hay!

~Lisa

Tammy said...

Open mouth, insert foot! One I often do, too. LOL!

Re your moldy hay - we had some of ours go bad, too. I advertised it on Craigs List as "not horse quality" and I had the cow farmers nearly racing to my house to get it. I KNOW I left $$ on the table over it. The guy who bought it (all!) told me he has a shredder so he'll just mix this moldy in with the good stuff & it will be fine for cows.

We have our own hay field, thank goodness. Our neighbor rolls the grass hay for us into round bales. They weigh around 1,500 pounds and one bale will last our horses about a week. We cropshare our alfalfa with the neighbor and get about 3 or 4 cuttings a year. More than enough for our horses. Since John got rid of the cows, we will probably have hay to sell thi year. These bales of alfalfa sell here for around $3 - $4, depending on cutting and time of year. Our small bales are about 50 - 60 lbs.

It's interesting to hear about the price of hay & availability in other areas. Feed stores here don't usually carry hay. You can buy it privately, go to the sale barn - where they have hay sales each week - or advertise on CL. Craigs List seems to be the most popular place for listing hay.

Laura said...

Hee hee - good thing he didn't catch your little slip-up! I would have been laughing like a loon!

Glad to hear that you found some decent hay for a third of the price! $18/bale seems like highway robbery...

atvA said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog! I grew up on a horse farm (that I miss dearly) but now I ride atv's and utv's. I also have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi-Gidget (Gidge)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The funny thing is that I probably should have just laughed out loud when he farted, because my husband told me later that the farmer was making sexist remarks about me backing the truck into his barn.

lytha said...

our hay man, carsten, never farts. not even at home, i'm sure. he looks like a surfer/model from california, is mid-20s, and i'm sure i'm not the only customer who feels frumpy around him. he's strong - he just throws the bales and i have to slide them up the ladder, and he is a regional top rider in the jumping shows here. (i found that last part out online, by accident.) he rides some of the priciest horses in our state, according to my show jumping neighbor. i slip him home baked goodies onto his passenger seat so he won't mind bringing us hay, then i found out that the hay he harvests from our field is not sold, it goes straight to his high quality horses. omy. i guess that means my horse gets some good grazing before it's cut! (but i wish he'd let us have some of our home grown.)

i know some people would like to see a photo of our shepherd, but i wish i had one of carsten too. it's just so inappropriate to ask certain people for a photo, ya know?

~lytha

sue said...

hay is certainly "money in the bank"... I know that my bank account looks pretty thin come June, but when winter days approach I am so glad that I did.... I am so happy you found some hay and at a decent rate.... it sure is a "worry" when you don't have any......

Rising Rainbow said...

OH GAWD!!! Tears here from the laughter! That is so something I would say. LOL

Glad you found some reasonable hay. Too bad he doesn't have a lot more.

allhorsestuff said...

OH Man!
I have done that and it is sooo embarracing! I usually fill in the silence with.."I am so comfortable with you" or something stupid like that! A guy...never, unless he was my last PBO, he'd probably come up with, "Dare ya to top that!"

I am very glad you found the better priced hay. We had that problem, year before last ...bad weather and NO HAY. It is 15-19 a bale...too too much! I went out and got on someone's list for this year, she will call me first and I will say YES!

Breathe said...

ROFLMAO!!

You have to come over and get little bits of carrot out of my keyboard, Missy! Geez, warn a girl, would ya?

Glad you found a good deal...