Its been awhile since I have posted anything on here, I have been enjoying my winter and not thinking about farming!  Last couple weeks though I have been thinking about what my plan is for 2011 and how to react to the changing marketplace here in Central Oregon.

Low hay prices has come to a head since wheat skyrocketed to $8 a bushel.  Hay growers such as myself suddenly see a great opportunity to make a pretty profit off of our hard work, and it is definitely not by growing hay.  When working the numbers, us farmers see a hay profit of maybe $75 an acre, versus $150+ for wheat, and wheat offers the added benefit of a guaranteed buyer through contracts.

If just 10% of the hay growers here in Central Oregon switch to wheat, we could see a shortage of hay this next summer and fall.  This desertion from hay is not just in Central Oregon, it’s the case all over the northwest.  WHeat offers better money, less equipment overhead, and a guaranteed buyer, and to hay growers that have been making pennies on the dollar, it looks pretty irresistable.

One way to get ahead of next year’s higher prices would be to contact growers early and let them know you are interested.  Buying hay in June versus September can mean a savings of $20-$50 a ton.  If you are a hay barn that goes through 80 tons a year, thats a pretty good savings.