Harvesting and storing an early hay crop this year is like putting money in the bank. It will make you feel better just knowing it is there. Following last year’s short hay crop in many areas of the state and heavy winter feeding, producers should think about getting hay in their barns as soon as possible. This will take some of the pressure off from worrying about an empty barn or hay lot, and the consequences of another short harvest.
Dry conditions cut hay production in some areas last year, and unusually wet and cool weather in winter caused heavy feeding which severally taxed existing hay supplies. Therefore, it is important to replenish hay supplies as soon as possible. In addition, be mindful that the first cutting of hay is usually of the best quality.
Where spring rains have fallen, first cuttings should be very good. With adequate nitrogen consider 80 – 100 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre with the absence of a soil test. Additional cuttings will depend on good rains throughout the growing season. Prices remain high due to the current shortage of hay. Low quality of bermudagrass hay normally sells for about thirty-five to forty-five dollars per roll. Better quality hay sells for fifty to seventy-five dollars per roll. It is a supply and demand situation. Unless hay production over the state is average to above average this year, prices will continue to be higher than normal.