Friday, September 2, 2011

Hay Troubles

I've been seeing signs up all over the valley regarding hay for sale for the past month.  I don't know what happened exactly, but I kept sleeping through the weekends and struggling with a variety of illnesses, and before I knew it I was down to 3 bales of hay and most of the signs regarding hay for sale had come down.  I called around, but there was no alfalfa-grass mix to be found -- only grass.  I can't feed my horses straight grass, because it doesn't keep the weight on them.  I'd have to buy double the amount I normally buy, and give the horses free choice since they have such fast metabolisms. 

So, I called the expensive hay farmer who delivers a block, and asked for one, assuming he'd have plenty of blocks since he out-priced what most of his customers could afford, and lost a lot of business.  Boy, was I wrong.  That's was last year.  This year is completely different.  He didn't have any blocks left, so he said he'd deliver 10 bales of uneven mixed hay to hold me over until the third cutting of the season.  If things are that bad this year, I had better pay him in advance for a second block to be delivered this winter.  I'm also going to have to race around the valley and buy as many pick-up bed loads as I can as soon as I start seeing the third cutting getting baled, because I don't think that two blocks will hold over my horses until next year's first cutting.

I really would like to know what people do when all the hay in their area sells out.  Do they order a shipment from out of state and pay for the transportation?  From what I hear, other states aren't faring much better.  What happens when our entire country runs out of hay?  Do people just cut their horses loose in some mountain meadow near a stream? 

This whole situation just seems ridiculous.  It gets worse with each year.  Somebody called me last night asking if they can have my support to keep Obama in office.  I was sitting there thinking, "I've been out of work for 10 months, can't find a decent paying job, can't sell my mother's house, we lost our employer-paid health insurance, we can't afford medical care for ourselves at all anymore, the price of everything is rising around us, and I can't find hay to feed my horses anymore." 

I gave her a resounding NO.

We've been watering our pasture like crazy, but it's that time of year when it is just too hot and the soil has been stamped down by the horses, so it is poor quality, and the grass has been eaten down to the roots so it is poor quality as well.  We can't get the pasture grass to grow anymore this year, so I'll have to start hand-grazing the horses on our front lawn.

I just went outside now and was surprised to see that the hay fairy stopped by my house and neither the dogs nor I heard a thing!  No one came to the door to let me know they were here, and they left the hay without leaving a bill.  I'm sure I'll either get a bill in the mail or I'll pay for the 10 bales when the block is delivered in a few weeks, but it was a nice surprise to just have it delivered without having to give up an hour of my day to chat.  I think this is the first time in the history of me ordering hay in which I received next day delivery without excuses.  I guess he sensed the desperation in my voice when I said I was down to three bales.  It's nice to know that someone cares.


Breathe said...

The problem is extremely dire in Texas. Some hay is coming in from Florida and Nebraska. But it's $$$$

Some people are trying to just feed pellets and horses are NOT doing well.

Fortunately our Barn Owner has connections and has been able to keep the hay coming - but at a higher price. We are all pitching in to make up for it.

Please let it rain...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

We can usually get hay year round although it comes from out of state and tend to be a little more expensive....though I don't know how much more expensive it can get than it already is. I paid $21.00 for a 3-string bale of bermuda grass last week and yesterday I bought 2 bales of 2-stringer brome for $10.50 a piece. gah!


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh and I forgot to say that I'm glad that something good happened to you. Yay for Hay Fairies!


WV: balin

balin hay!

too funny!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I think we're all having financial woes nowadays. I still need to buy another 200 bales for winter but I need to come up with the money. I got lucky and bought 90 bales of alfalfa last month and 120 bales of grass mix last weekend at amazingly, $7 a bale, delivered! But the guy that brought the hay said there was a shortage and I'd be lucky not to pay $12 a bale for alfalfa soon. OMG!!! My usual grass hay guy said they only got 1/2 as much this year and are worried about running out themselves.

I'm actually looking at alfalfa pellets or cubes to supplement...or selling some horses.

I'm glad your hay fairy/farmer helped you out with the 10 bales. I was in the feed store a few weeks back and a lady had completely run out and was begging for anything the store had- about 23 bales total- good and bad. The store owner ended up giving her a couple of the bad ones for free, which was nice.

Reddunappy said...

When I bought hay last the farmer told me that hay may become scarce by late winter. I paid $12.50 a bale for 2 string orchard grass. I have a few choices if the farmer a mile from me runs out, go to a feed store a half hour away, who has his own trucks and has in the past hauled out of Canada. Or go to Wilco farm store and hope they have something decent. I was told a lot is being shipped to Texas and Japan.

fernvalley01 said...

We have had to purchase out of province hay during drought years, and it was spendy! not the hay , but the trucking. I guess there are options of cubes or pellet feeds , but you really have to watch water consumption with that, they need wasy more water or can develop a blockage

Black Sheep said...

I am a long time reader.. First time commenter..
I am ALMOST ashamed to say I got 125, 60 pound bales of alfalfa/clover/grass for $2.50 a bale delivered and stacked. and will get as many as I need/want of 55-60 pound bales of just pasture grass to free feed for 1.50 to $2.00 a bale delivered and stacked.. I have one easy keeper horse a pony and 2 sheep and will not spend more than $500/600 on hay for the 8 months I will be feeding it.
I WISH I could go south and bring a horse or two home.. I trade and babysit with/for my trimmer and I get and always get great deals on hay.. but a decent riding horse here will still cost at least $2500 to 3000 minimum. I could put up a few horses..
But to make everyone feel a bit better.. I have three kids, Have MS and husband who is on the autism spectrum and I am ALL ALONE in everything I do... have even been out tossing hay the day after having babies by c-section..and winters here are long and hard.. -40 and life is hard.. I wish I could send you all hay at my cost..
I wish you all.. all the best of luck finding hay at reasonable prices.. I am happy with 8 months of winter and reasonable hay prices.
Black Sheep

Dreaming said...

I'm having trouble finding hay at a decent price. Thought I had some, but when I called the guy back, he wouldn't return my calls.
Texans are coming here to buy hay.

lytha said...

it's been so rainy here in germany this summer hay farmers have had no choice but to just make silage, that wet packaged sour hay. god forbid our provider runs out and i have to feed baasha that stinking crap. most horse farms feed silage because there is no way germany can produce enough hay for all its horses.

i remember asking about the availability of alfalfa and he laughed, "ha, we have a hard enough time making HAY in germany."

if you want to buy alfalfa in germany you must buy it in little plastic sacks the size of grain bags and it's more expensive than grain. also, bags of normal grass hay pellets are pricier than grain. how can this be, i wonder. i guess it's easier to manufacture grain than make hay into pellets.

i'm so glad you got hay just in time! wow, 3 bales and 3 horses, scary!

Cheryl Ann said...

The ranch owner was getting low on alfalfa and she called and there was NONE available. She had to buy the cheap bales from the feed store at $17.50 EACH for a while...she FINALLY got a load of alfalfa. Turns out, the US sells 80% of its alfalfa to CHINA and Japan!!! THEY can afford to buy it and spend more than us...sigh...she doesn't even know now if she'll be able to get another load late winter or early spring. We DO have a 365 day growing season and I see many hay delivery trucks on the freeway every morning, mostly going to the dairies or the race tracks (we have 3 here in Southern California).

Vaquerogirl said...

Even here is fertile California hay is going to be hard to come by.
A lot of it is because the Japanese have been buying it all up and shipping it overseas. I was kinda hoping the tsunami and the earthquake would have put a damper on that, but it hasn't. They buy in the field and absorb the coast of trucking, so the farmers love it. There is a guy here( Japanese) called Hay King and he has acres and acres of baled hay waiting to transport- won't sell it to us horse people for anything.
Luckily my boarding includes hay. But if it didn't I would have to go with a stable mix or pellets(which I really don't like or trust.)
Things have to turn around soon- they just have to!

Grey Horse Matters said...

The whole country is having it's problems with weather changes, financial ups and downs and unemployment.

Glad you got your hay. We're looking for decent stuff too. Everything is either too dusty or too dry or just not what we want. We have to do something soon for the winter though. I remember years ago when we had a business we got a tractor trailer load from Canada. Nice stuff but a little expensive. The horses can't go without hay for the winter so we do what we need to.

Wazzoo said...

I've free fed straw to keep my guys gut moving and then soaked alfalfa cubes twice a day. Worked nicely. Now I just get grass hay from my hay guy at $25 a round bale. My two guys are easy keepers.

sue said...

Oh wow everyone, I feel very blessed right now. I decided to buy all my year's worth of hay at our first cut (here im Maine, it's a 50/50 that you'll get a second) so I decided not to wait.. we brought in 855 bales at 4.50 a bale. Big pay out when it came in last July, but it's all tucked away in the loft.... I truly hope all of you can find what you are needing....

aurora said...

Scary scenario. What a nice surprise that hay delivery was :) Best of luck with your search for hay.

achieve1dream said...

When I can't get hay I feed shredded beet pulp. It's really great stuff. Obviously horses need long stem fiber to keep their guts working, but if you can't find hay you can't find hay. I hand graze too, but luckily now with the lease land it's not such a problem anymore.

I'm glad the hay fairy visited you. :D