The Hay Market
How our farm produces Hay
Hay production in Idaho begins in the fall, when seed is planted and watered before winter forces dormancy. The spring heat and rain bring the plants out of dormancy and creates the perfect conditions for high-protein dairy-quality hay.
When it’s ready to be cut, a specialty tractor, called a swather or windrower, mows the hay into rows. The wind and sun dry each of these rows before a tractor with a rake implement combines two rows.
This combination process also turns the hay completely over, allowing the bottom of the previous row to dry. Once this side of the hay is dry, a bailer compresses the rows into bails.
These bails are picked up and stacked until they are sold and moved to the buyer’s location.
In June of 2023, one ton of dairy quality hay is selling for around $220. In 2019, a ton of hay sold for $190. These market prices are determined by how much feed is available.
The amount of feed available nationally varies greatly from year to year, with weather being a large factor in availability.