Hay making season is winding down here in the state of Wisconsin as fall is nearing. That will also increase the need to now feed some of those forages harvested to our livestock through the fall and winter. Richard Halopka, Crops & Soils Specialist with UW-Extension in Clark County shares a current hay market and supply update.
He reports that hay supply around the state is looking pretty decent this year going into fall. Central Wisconsin has had a wonderful growing season and has plenty of supply. As for some other dryer parts of the state, forage supplies are still adequate, even though they may have had a slow start. Interestingly, some nutritionists that Halopka has talked with have mentioned readjusting rations to use up any extra hay forage that farmers may have, in place of corn silage. He says working with your nutritionist can help decide what will be most cost effective depending on your forage supply.
Top dairy quality hay, over 150 relative feed value is still steady to strong in price. One change we have seen over the past few weeks is any lower quality forage, especially below 100 relative feed value is seeing a drop in price. A couple factors that play into that change are the availability of corn silage or alternative forages, and we are seeing many places in the United States that are dry and short on forage are marketing cattle early or moving them to other areas with less problems.
The last few years, harvesting alternative forages such as corn stalks or straw have been more popular to alleviate high hay prices. This year, Halopka says there will probably be a decent amount of alternative forage available, but farmers may decide not to harvest it if they don’t necessarily need it.
Halopka was also somewhat surprised when putting his last report together that straw prices have actually fallen some in comparison to the last few years. Quite a few producers grew small grains this past year, contributing to a decent supply of straw available. He reminds that even though wheat straw will usually draw a premium over other small grains, the prices don’t seem to be as high and demand isn’t quite as high at this time.
Click here to view Halopka’s most recent full hay market report.