The Woodward News

Local News

August 24, 2012

Some varieties of hay see increase in sales

Woodward, Okla. — Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) report that selling activity has increased recently for grass hay.

ODAFF Market Development Coordinator Jack Carson said demand for alfalfa hay has remained moderate, mostly because of price.  Alfalfa hay jumped $10 this week to between $200 and $230 per ton, he said.

Grass hay prices have also increased. In the Western Oklahoma market this week, Carson said mixed grass hay made a slight uptick over the prior week, with 4 foot by 5 foot bales going for $50 to $70 each.

Nevertheless, he said grass hay sales have moved from "moderate" to "fairly active" of late.  This jump in sales is in part due to the approaching end of the season and customers are making their last-minute purchases, Carson said.

"And the supply is getting harder to find," he said.

As a sign of this he pointed to the lack of area hay sellers listed on the state's hay directory, www.oda.state.ok.us/mktdev/haydir.pdf.   For grass hay, there is only one seller listed in each of Dewey, Ellis, Major and Texas counties, while Woodward County has no sellers listed.

"There hasn't been one listed from there (Woodward County) in about a month," he said. "The producers are now keeping hay for their use, or are selling it to customers they've already made arrangements with. So it's not going to the market."

Another thing affecting supply is the ongoing drought, both in and out of state.

"One hundred percent of Oklahoma is now classified as being in severe or exceptional drought by weather forecasters," Carson said.

The worst category, exceptional, stands at 48 percent of the state, he said, and Woodward County is considered to be in the exceptional area.

But the drought isn't limited to Oklahoma.  Carson said that even the states that furnished hay to Oklahoma during last year's drought, including Nebraska and Arkansas, are now experiencing their own dry weather.

So those producers who do have hay available for sale are encouraged to advertise in the Oklahoma hay directory,  he said.  To be included in the directory, contact ODAFF toll free, at (800) 580-6543, or contact Carson at (405) 522-3752 or by e-mailing jack.carson@ag,ok.gov.

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