Price of hay driven by horse farmers
Hay auctions in Michigan USA are dominated by horse owners, who drive hay
A tight supply last year and drought across Michigan and much of the eastern
United States pushed hay prices to winter levels by September. Dale
Heselschwerdt, senior owner of the Napoleon Livestock Commission, said
competition for hay is intense. His Monday hay auctions last year averaged 1,123
bales of hay at an average $2.79 a bale. Average sales this year dropped to 834
bales and increased to an average $4.04, he said.
Hay prices generally peak in late winter, when demand is highest
and the supply is low. Farmers with hay are storing most of it now, expecting at
least another buck a bale in early 2008.
Most hay buyers 20 years ago
were beef and dairy farmers, Heselschwerdt said. Hay auctions now are dominated
by horse owners, who drive hay prices. A family with one or a couple of horses
is willing to pay more for feed, while working livestock farms must produce most
of their own feed to turn a profit.
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