As the 2012 hay season is starting to wind down, we get a clearer picture of hay what hay prices will be this fall and winter.
Central Oregon hay has remained in high demand, both from local markets and export buyers and prices have stayed at levels seen last year. The bulk of 1st and 2nd cutting orchard grass is being marketed at $220 to $240/ton, with prices for alfalfa close behind. However, there are still bargins out there and some hay can be found in the $190/ton range, but those guys will soon be bought out.
These prices are staying high even as milk prices are not where the dairymen would like to see them. I sure would not want to be milking cows with these prices. Margins are still pretty tight which is crimping the purchasing power of the dairies. Just think what would happen to alfalfa prices if they get some better milk checks!
Orchard grass is always tied to alfalfa prices, and should command a premium over alfalfa prices to cover the higher fertilizer prices. Last year we saw the premium evaporate as alfalfa became scarce, and it’s hard for growers to stick with orchard grass when they see similar money for the cheaper-to-grow alfalfa.
Lets see what 3rd and 4th cutting weather gives us.