Michigan Hay Sellers List stands ready to help buyers locate scarce hay

Whether buying or selling hay the Michigan hay sellers list makes the task easier.

The unusual weather of 2012 has drastically lowered the supply of hay in Michigan. For the past nineteen years that I have coordinated the Michigan Hay Sellers List, this is the lowest supply of hay for sale on the list in memory.

Michigan’s Lower Peninsula started out the year with alfalfa breaking dormancy earlier than normal with warm weather in March, followed by repeated frost events in April. This was followed by dry weather in May that grew into hot, droughty conditions in June and July. The Upper Peninsula started the spring dry following a dry summer in 2011 where hay inventories had already been reduced.                

First cutting hay yields were 20 – 45 percent lower than normal over much of Michigan and second cuttings have been 50 – 80 percent below normal. Many livestock and dairy farms in the southern Lower Peninsula have gone into survival mode scrambling for any forage they can find. This will be a tough year for herds caught short of feed because few feed alternatives are cheap and most other states in the region are at least as dry as Michigan.

Some areas of Michigan have been fortunate to have rain and others are irrigating so some hay is still available. Anyone with extra hay, or with the potential to make hay more hay is encouraged to list it for sale on the Hay Sellers List once they have it baled. Even if hay has been stored for a few years it can be fed and will still have nutritional value. Aged hay, as long as it is kept dry, does not lose significant nutritional value, except for a few vitamins that can be easily supplemented.

The Michigan Hay Sellers List is an on-line listing of farms with hay for sale. The listing is free and is kept current by deleting all listings that are over four months old. Anyone wishing to list hay for sale or wanting to locate hay to buy can visit the Michigan Hay Sellers List website. Just follow the directions and go to the “help” icon at the top of the entry page if more clarification is needed.

All asking prices are listed on a per ton basis. This is done to ensure that transactions are made on a fair, standard basis as bales of hay can vary greatly in weight. For more information contact Phil Kaatz, MSU Extension Forage Educator, based in Lapeer County toll free at 888-678-3464, or Jerry Lindquist, MSU Extension Grazing Educator, based in Osceola County toll free at the same number. The Hay Sellers List is sponsored by Michigan State University Extension with support from the Michigan Forage Council, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Michigan Farm Bureau.

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