It would be nice to buy hay in June or July. When prices are normally low for first cutting hay, and at a time when you can relax, knowing that your next winter’s worth of feed is checked off the to-do list. But this year, our spring was so bad, grass started growing late. And fields were so wet in June, nobody could cut before July.

In July, we were spending every spare moment on barn wiring. I decided it was probably just as well to wait a while, letting pent-up demand consume earlier balings, and hoping that prices would calm by the end of the summer. The recession, the price of fuel, and the bad yield were bound to make feed costs skyrocket this year. I calculated I need quite a bit of hay for the winter, fifteen tons. That’s more loading that I have time to do on the weekends. So I shopped around with some local hay producers for someone who could deliver and stack it.

One neighbor had beautiful, but fairly expensive hay. Too nice for sheep. And I’d have to track down helpers to load and stack it.  Another neighbor got a late start cutting, and his hay was modestly priced, but pretty stemmy and brown. I needed something in the middle, and delivered with an elevator, so the second neighbor recommended Andrew’s Hay in Arlington. I like to go with someone I know, or someone recommended to me, because just getting any ol’ hay off of craigslist or out of some stranger’s field can be a gamble.

Andrew lab tests his hay, which is helpful, allowing the buyer to select hay with the appropriate crude protein content required for their livestock. He has a lot of hay to choose from. I opted for some 9% second cutting Timothy. I drove up there and bought a bale to test, just to be sure the sheep liked it ok. Yep.

So yesterday two trucks and a trailer brought 525 bales, and four guys neatly stacked them in our loft. Though I likely won’t need it until November or December, it’s nice to have it put away. The whole barn already smells like good, green grass!