Where has all the orchard grass gone? Sometime in the last three months, Central Oregon has been for the most part cleaned out of any good orchard grass hay.  There is still 3 months or so until the first hay will be cut, and until then, prices will be astronomical. 

I believe that first cutting will only bring mild relief for horse owner’s wallets, and this is because of all the grass being plowed under this winter.  Drive to Madras sometime and look at all the spring wheat coming up in fields that were in grass last year.  Growers have finally given up on $130 a ton hay that barely paid the bills and are now flocking to grain as prices stay at the mid $ 7.60+. 

First cutting will probobly fetch a good $180 a ton,  perhaps even more if there is any rain in June.  That is about what it’s going for now, if you can find anything that is.  What’s interesting to me is that there are other options for feed than orchard grass.  If you read my blog you know that I am a big fan of oats because its a great economical feed.  Besides oat hay there is wheat hay, as well as triticale (mostly for cows).  I used to feed bluegrass straw to stretch my orchard grass out before I grew my own hay.  That is really cheap, but some horses have a hard time mantaining weight.

Times are hard and I believe that hay consumers will be shopping around more than ever to look for relief.  Maybe there will be some growers who will be willing to provide an economical feed…  Until then, if you are going to be buying hay this summer, pray for some warmth this spring and a sunny June!