9 hours ago
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Note to self: Buy a hay elevator next year. tossing the bales up 10' sucks.
The price of hay has decreased in the last two years; but even so, there's lots of horse owners that are abandoning their animals because their feed bill is too high. With farm animals -- like beef cattle -- people who can't afford to feed them either sell them or eat them. Different deal with horses; horse slaughter for human consumption was outlawed in the united states in 2006, and it's been illegal to use horses for dog food since 1972, and that's pretty much meant that there is no economical way to get rid of a horse. So people let them starve, or turn them loose on indian reservations, or put them in someones pasture. It's becoming a bigger problem each year.
With local hay, that i'm picking up and stacking myself, my costs are minimal. Total cost per bale stacked in the barn with hired labor is $3.50 a bale, or roughly $110/ton. I use about 80% as feed for pigs/cows/sheep, 20% as bedding. At $3.50 a bale, it's much cheaper than straw single-bales.
Another way to buy hay cheaply is in the big round or big square bales. I prefer the small squares because I'm feeding or using small quantities. But if I get more sheep I'll probably switch to large round, that being what is produced around here.