Readers Report Trends in This Year's Hay Market

More than 1,900 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "Have you purchased hay for the coming winter?"

results of poll on hay prices

Results were as follows: 
  • Yes, and I had to pay more than last year's prices: 45.27% (867)
  • Yes, and it was about the same price as last year: 22.09% (423)
  • I grow my own hay: 11.96% (229)
  • No, I haven't bought hay yet: 9.71% (186)
  • Yes, and it cost less than last year: 8.30% (159)
  • I do not need to buy hay this year: 2.66% (51)

Readers shared more about what they're paying for their preferred type of hay in the comments below.

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  • a slight increase in hay. Local farmer brings hay wagon to my barn.
  • We seem to be getting charged over the top due to diesel yet the prices are over what the extra cost
  • good grass hay went from 5.25 @ to $7 @ for a 45 lb bale
  • I bought all hay at once instead of shippments thru winter
  • The hay cost a few dollars less, but the gas price made it more expensive!
  • We stocked up last yr because of the predictions of a shortage. Otherwise we just buy as we need it
  • We would be selling several horses if buying hay.
  • I must purchase low-NSC hay for my IR pony; I paid $22/bale for Orchard hay (100 lb. bales in CA).
  • Unfortunetly, Ihave no place to store it!!
  • Here in Port Orchard, Wa. the feed store has grass hay for $17.00 per bale,that is $400 per ton
  • I had to pick it up in the field to reduce cost
  • The bales were smaller, that is why it costed a little less.
  • We normally grow our own but it was cheaper to buy then to cut our hay.
  • $19.61/bale with tax for grass
  • A bale of grass/alfalfa at local feedstore costs $19! Bought from a hay dealer is $15/bale!
  • I need another 155 bales at the sum of $620.
  • Some was less, some stayed the same. I have two suppliers
  • hay was harder to keep from going off whilst growing it this than last year
  • per ton cost was up and same with delivery. Quality was better than last year
  • I had to buy my own equipment! Farmer who farms here cut most and let it get rained on!
  • shouls have enough until next summer
  • Hay is cheaper here in NM then most places...
  • What I bought is full of nettle thorns
  • It was $283. a ton. I used to pay around $160. a ton but those days are gone I'm told.
  • More hay available, still pricey.
  • I sold it for $3 in field or $5 at barn
  • Bale of alfalfa went from 9.98 last year to 17.98 this year
  • Hard to find good hay for a good price. More expensive than last year
  • better hay, better price, st. louis
  • in some areas of my state hay is going for export or dairy for premium prices!
  • $235.00/ton! yikes! how much more can we take?
  • I also made sure to get hay earlier this year due to weather conditions all around the upper midwest
  • hay is still getting expensive. at $7 a bale!
  • paid $8 lst year $10 to $14 this year per bale 90 to 100 lb. bales
  • price went from $120/ton delivered to $170/ton delivered!
  • Provided by boarding facility
  • when I can find it, and a lot of it is second rate full of weeds
  • My has is running about $10 per round bale cheaper than last year, we had more rain.
  • grow most of our own hay, prices higher on the rest we bought
  • Grow our own, sell the rest at $3 in W. PA
  • I have to sell 2 of my 4 horses due to the increase in hay prices
  • I have my hay reserved but I haven't bought any yet
  • better quality this year
  • hay prices are crazy in Fla. averaging 17/bale of t/a
  • Buy from the same person yearly.
  • approx. 30% price increase in past 2 years
  • Prices are almost double last year's. Overbuilding, conversion if land to biofuels +shipping costs.
  • The quality was not as good in half of the hay...same fields but a wet summer.
  • 50 % increase in price and this was a very good hay year in my area
  • Quality is also down due to extensive rain
  • My hay prices were higher due to increased fuel expenses.
  • We're looking at $26 for a 120 lb bale now. Ouch.
  • just keeps going up
  • Very difficult to make hay in the Northeast this year - too wet
  • the area i am in had only one cutting this year so a lot of people are running shot
  • We have 160 of alfalfa,but cost of producing has skyrocketed. Diesel @ $4.50 gal. really hurts
  • alfalfa @min $0.15/lb orch &timothy $0.25/lb in so cal big problem for many
  • I have 2 hay suppliers, good hay, good prices. I buy 2 weeks worth at a time, all year.
  • With 26 horses, it was a LOT more!
  • I use Ontario Dehy Alfalfa Timothy cubes. The price has gone up 45%.
  • rather than buying from local farmers we have bought shipped in hay in 4x4x8' bales
  • one supplier was the same price, the other was up by 50 cents per bale.
  • My hay has gone up for the past 3 years/blamed gas prices
  • no place to store it, so I have to buy it a few bales at a time
  • I board. I don't know how much we pay for hay
  • We buy local grass from a farmer near us. The hay went up $1/bale - not so bad for us yet...
  • Quality not as good now for two years 3 a bale now
  • hay seems plentiful this year but just as high priced as last year
  • hay will only get worse since urea is now a thousand dollars a ton and going to China who knows what
  • we had a drought in our area last year
  • It cost me 1/3 more for the hay to the tune of $13.99 a bale for 110 bales.
  • fuel was major reason for increase i.e. fertilizer in addition to running equipment when will it end
  • Prices for good quality hay in PA are rising but still less than south
  • I supplement what my board covers by the bale.
  • if ya can't grow it ya have to pey too much
  • In Southern CA we are paying $26 per bale for a mix hay that weighs in at about 130#'s
  • and is 3strin
  • way more!
  • The quality is getting harder. More weeds
  • Yes, I purchase early and quantity to guarantee best prices and delivery.
  • double the cost
  • Supply here is up and demand is down some. I got square bales of brome for 3.50 delivered
  • Fertilizer prices went up 50% this year!
  • $150/ton large square alfalfa - northwest Iowa
  • We are in Washington. Our hay bill increased 50 per cent.
  • the quality is not as good as last year
  • Hay price almost doubled
  • I did get some oat hay donated for my rescured mini! there are nice people out there
  • too much rain = no hay
  • Have a neighbor make large rounds in inactive pasture also to supplement small squares.
  • Horse is on dengi for medical reasons. Price hasn't changed in three years.
  • High cost of gas drove overall price of hay WAY UP -- had to transport it a long distance
  • a friend gave me some after her horse died, but it cost much more than last year
  • prices have almost doubled
  • Was less $$ than last year and more plentiful.
  • More expensive due to fuel costs and weather-generated shortage of 2nd cutting
  • The hay supply is fine, we grow grass hay and buy alfalfa, prices are down
  • Paid $4.75 last year and $5.00 this year.
  • $4.25/small square bale
  • Even after hauling it ourself, we paid more
  • Producing hay was more expensive this year. Gas, fertilizer prices all up.
  • Reason for higher price was due to higher cost of gas to run machinery.
  • I board my horse - the barn has contracted for this winter's hay at more cost than last year
  • I purchase some hay in addtion to what I grow and the price is higher than last year
  • Hay is available here all year. I have to buy monthly.
  • last year about $10/bale grass or oat mix. $15 this year.
  • Good 2nd cutting alfalfa/pasture mix 3.50 a square bale. Out of the feild. Our area had little rain
  • but it's almost twice last year
  • I live in Utah where we have not had trouble growing hay, however the growers send it out of state
  • 1st year for producing hay
  • My hay is grown at my leased barn, put up with sweat equity and I help with other hay orders.
  • Hay is so exspensive I have many firends that are sturggleing feeding there animals and themselves.
  • I bought an extra 100 bales as a cushion, just in case
  • we pay for them as we use them from our neighbor
  • buy a whole winter's hay?? must be nice! In Florida it will mold. Have to buy by the month.
  • $7/small bale, but good hay. CT
  • There's never a shortage, but it's cheaper to buy while the local cuttings are still available
  • $8/bale in northeast Oklahoma
  • Had to pay more and the crop was lousy because we had so much rain they couldn't get it in,
  • still waiting for it to rain. (Austin, Tx) may not get a 2nd cutting
  • Much harder to find in last 2 yrs. Prices up from $2.50/bale in 2006 to $5.00/bale 2008 paid $140 ton last year and now $250 ton
  • I'm in Northern CA. I paid $13 a bale for approximately 100lb bales.
  • round and square. plan on buying more shortly.
  • it will be hard to get hay this year
  • I will use round barn kept hay this year. Little more work but much cheaper
  • I buy hay on a need to basis, prices in Northern California are at least double from last year.
  • I board my 2 horses but the board fee was raised due to the higher cost of hay this year.
  • My supplier didn't raise the price per bail but charged higher deilivery charges-per mile round trip
  • cost less than last year, but not as low as 2 yrs ago price
  • The guy I buy hay from has always been fair and doesn't do price jabbing. Some due to gas for delive
  • 22 tons, 10 horses
  • Slightly higher price, but my horse has cushings and I need low starch/low sugar hay, new supplier
  • I still need to buy more.
  • needed to buy 130 extra bales
  • Prices have gone up about 25% since last year!
  • Can't get it! Can't find any that is suitable to feed horses! Buying two or three bales at a time
  • It's not as good as last year's hay, either.
  • It is wonderful to taylor our own hay and know we have enough.
  • $8.00 a bale in central Ohio. It figures out its cheaper to find my family of four then to feed hor
  • paid 3.50 a bale for coastal bermuda that has been sprayed and fertilized. about .50 more than last
  • The farmer I purchase my hay from raised his prices due to the high cost of gas.
  • I didn't have to buy as much as we are also growing and baling our own this year
  • I live in rural FL where we don't have hay barns,we buy from farmer, prices are same as 2007
  • I feed hay all year round in Australia, hay is down to $17.50 AUD a small bale.
  • our hay source lives right across the road from us...I buy 10-12 bales at a time..about the same $
  • I buy 1 1/2 ton of 'mix' per horse for winter. I purchase right out of field; it's cheaper.
  • I have looked for sm.bales alfalfa/grass mix in my are to no avail b/c of floods. Prices up OK
  • I also had to haul and stack my hay this yr. last year it was delivered and stacked.
  • We also grow our own, bale it in rounds, and then purchase most of our small bales locally
  • I got some just a bit more mature than preferred but clean and about 1/2 the price of 2 week earlier
  • 21.50 a bale for 100
  • I buy hay monthly because of storage issues, so I'm rather anxious about supply and quality
  • my boarding facility provides hay
  • I have enough storage for one month's supply, price has been steadily increasing.
  • It was $30 a ton more than last year.
  • I got my hay from a different grower this year but it cost about the same
  • We grow some ourselves but need more. Prices are about the same as last year.
  • ALSO, THE QUAILTY IS CRAP THIS YR. AND I'VE BOUGHT FROM THE SAME MAN FOR YRS.
  • Buying hay after the first cutting is key. The later you buy the more it will cost.
  • only $1/bale more this year, only $6/bale
  • 4 tons cost 1300. Western Washignton
  • money going out to gas to get to work has kept me from buying hay yet
  • Good grass hay about $30 more per ton
  • I try to buy for a whole year - only 2 horses though.
  • 3 dollars a bale
  • I have all the alfalfa I will need and have contracted for the grass hay to be delivered as needed
  • I will buy some soon.
  • I think prices started high, but, with good weather, hay prices stayed reasonble in my area.
  • Cost about 0.50 cents more per bale.
  • It's becoming harder and harder for the average person to raise a horse and this is very unfortunate
  • We got lucky paying $7 a bale. Thankfully we are splitting the cost with a fellow horse friend.
  • $3 square bale; fertilized & weed-free; bought from neighbor Ft. Worth area
  • but I have it spoken for, I don't have a place to store it
  • Paod $ 5.00 a bail delivered and in barn. Alfalfa and grass thirs cut
  • purchased early not taking a chance of shortage.
  • It is almost impossible to find horse quality hay where I live.
  • It was realy nice hay and it was the least expensive in all the tack and feed shops.
  • we've had fewer customers than last year too... I hope they don't wait too late in the yr to buy...
  • square bales stayed the same rounds up 5 from last yr
  • the prices are crazy even though we had nice increments of rain at the right time hay is still more.
  • I am hoping that I can ration it til next haying season
  • I bought hay last year at $7.50 a bale for bermuda grass
  • I haven't charged as much as last year's going rate
  • 2.75 delivered last year, 3.50 pick-up this year
  • 4.00 per square bale in Atlantic Canada this year.
  • Yes, but I bought early in the year and I bought round bales which cost much less than square bales!
  • I always try to buy ahead to make it thru the winter.
  • With gas prices and seed up, I expected it to be high again
  • I board my horse and it isthe stable's responsibility
  • Hay is expected to be in short supply here in the northeast due to poor growing conditions.
  • Hay is included in my horse's boarding fee
  • I pay someone to harvest it from my own fields.
  • this is going to be a very scary year for horsepeople
  • gladly paying more for better quality
  • Hay prices have tripled in the past three years.
  • The grower I buy from will raise prices next year. Hay twine and fertilizer tripled in cost.
  • 50 cents more a bale
  • We had plenty of rain,so great hay crop!Thrilled with the result!!!!!
  • Prices are about the same as last year.
  • twice as much as last year
  • The hay farmer is facing higher costs.Let's be sympathetic.
  • Price was up 75 cents per bale from last year.
  • end of drought made hay cheaper and more plentiful this year
  • I don't buy hay for the whole season due to lack of storage space
  • Don't have storrage for large amounts of hay
  • Yes, as the weather wasn't exactly optimal for hay growing. I always buy more than I need as well.
  • Price increased from .07 to 10 per pound
  • $8 per bale 55-60# $1.50 per bale more than last yr. The hay I bought is 2nd cut timothy.
  • In the past year, my board has risen 12 % as a direct result of the rising grass hay prices.
  • I'd pay for good hay, then a for a good vet bill!
  • $3.50 - $4/35-40 lb bale in Rochester NY
  • Vashon Island (Seattle)-$330 /ton Timothy Hay plus ferry fees of $30.
  • WAAAAY MORE!!!
  • 115 round and 200 squares should take my 15 through the year
  • Only 25 cents/bale increase-$4.75 not bad considering what others have to pay
  • Wonderful hay, much better prices!
  • Paid $85 a ton last year - this year the same hay, same producer cost $150 a ton. Hay prices way up
  • I paid $23/bale for hay. This is just extra hay so I am not buying in volume quantities, but still
  • No storage, so I have to buy as I need it.
  • I have bought some, but not nearly enough. $5.oo hay is the norm in s. Indiana
  • I'm buying most of it in a few weeks, then rest in December, $2.50/sq. bale
  • A bit more then last year but I think supply will run out faster here in Alaska, had a crappy summer
  • Paid less than last year, but I've moved to a new state...
  • Get my hay from my neighbor - 2 bales at a time - $6.00 a 2 wire bale :)
  • I got a great buy on 2nd cut clover timothy. $4 / bale DP in RI
  • can't blame the procucers for passing on their increased fuel costs, but makes it harder to keep all
  • We don't need to keep in on hand. Our supplier keeps it for us, & he is only 15 minutes away.
  • Due to no rain I paid double.
  • MUCH more
  • calculated per bale cost, 100-110 pound bales, good alfalfa: $15.95
  • It just keeps going up and not down.
  • 300 Bails .... $2000.00 and I will still need more
  • will soon though - money is tight and there isn't much extra to purchase alot of hay
  • Last year I paid $4000 a load; this year I paid $6000 a load for four loads.
  • Buy it monthly from same supplier for 5 years
  • Not for the whole year; but it cost a bit more this year.
  • Tough times!
  • ...had to pay A LOT MORE!
  • paid more due to the high fuel prices
  • We contract for our hay!
  • We purchase by the month. September was bad, most I've ever spent.
  • PD 210 PER TON FOR ALFALFA/GRASS (ID) CONCERNS ARE OTHER HORSES WON'T HAVE FOOD BECAUSE OF PRICES
  • Prices have gone up 66% (and more).
  • The owner of the barn where I keep my horse buys it xD
  • It's going to be another expensive year!
  • And I was able to get it from my normal source instead of travelling halfway across KY!
  • bought 1 st crop round bales . plus made some from rented land.
  • Expences are way up over past years, besides cost of diesel, twine and parts are made of petrolium
  • spent $5000 on hay for 13 head. We will make it through winter
  • Hay prices are slightly higher because fuel prices are higher during the cutting season this year.
  • I have bought some but not enough, The hey guy told me at the last minute that he couldnt supply me.
  • our hay went up from $140 in 06, $185 -n 07 and now its $270 at ton for meadow grass
  • I board my horse the barn grows hay
  • I try to get all the hay in I will need in as early in the year as possible.Then it's off my mind.
  • Price of diesel is killing us.
  • My supplier kept the price the same because I'm a great customer, otherwise it would be higher
  • at a boarding stable and not sure what the owner has done at this point
  • .25 more per bale
  • Wow - hay is expensive here in the East.
  • The hay barn is full and my savings account is empty.
  • The price of hay was up from 190/ton last year to over 300/ton this year...
  • Higher price, lower quality
  • We purchase the large bale hay & experience less loss
  • I thought it would be less--much more good hay this year
  • I order my hay in April, so he knows he has a guaranteed sale.
  • Still expensive in Indiana--$7-$9 @ sq bale BUT AT LEAST THERE IS HAY THIS YEAR! Last year was bad!
  • Price up more than 50%
  • My horse is on hay pellets, has gone up.
  • winter is here!
  • I did have to pay an additional $.25 per bale for delivery over last years $.50 per bale.
  • I have friends who store the hay inside until I need it. I get one round bale at a time as needed.
  • 30% Increase in ton pricing
  • hay has gone up from 3.00 a bale to $8.00 a bale- quite the cost increase
  • southeastern MI., $5.00 bale for nice 2nd cut grass
  • I see hay for less, but I'm paying my guy the same to keep him happy.
  • Can only buy small amts at a time
  • Price is almost double last year's price
  • We buy 200 bales per horse per year at once.
  • Most horse owners in other areas would go into shock at what we have to pay for hay in Florida.
  • Better quality than last year, but prices haven't come down a lot. Shipping is expensive.
  • It's ok I paid more. At least the barn is full and don't have to worry.
  • oklahoma
  • PRICE INCREASE I HAD TO PAY WAS DUE TO INCREASED FUEL PRICES.
  • bought from IL due to drought in TN, great hay & big price
  • Im blessed that i can but from a friend who grows there own and we have no drought

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care.

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