Speaking of hay, the word from the hay farmers in east Tennessee is that 2007 is shaping up to be a very bad year for hay. The first harvest of the year was about half it’s normal size and the lack of rain since the first harvest could mean there is no second harvest. In Tennessee, we had a hard freeze well into spring that seems to have slowed the growth of just about everything this season. That’s probably the culprit of the smaller-than-normal first harvest. Local farmers say we’re in the drought end of a 10-year moisture cycle in these parts.
What all of this means for those of us buying hay in east Tennessee is high prices and low availability. Last year feed stores were selling 30-40 pound square bales for up to $5.50 each last winter. I wonder what the price will be this year. If these farmers are correct, the best time to purchase hay is right now. As long as we keep them away from moisture, the bales will easily last and we have the room for it now. We’re planning on stocking up on round bales for winter and square bales for daily roughage. Worse-case scenario, we’ll supplement this winter with bagged alfalfa but I’d rather not do that. If you live in the southeast, this might be a good year to consider building some hay storage.
Luckily the midwest seems to be having a wet summer so you horse owners out there are probably in good shape. Heck, we might be importing hay from you guys this year!