One of the biggest things on the minds of many horse and cattle people in my area is hay.
Saskatchewan experienced a record setting drought this year (yep, worse than The Dirty 30s!) There was 30 cm of snow in late April and pretty much no real moisture again until July. Accuweather.com shows a whopping 14 mm of rain TOTAL in June for my area, a day with 6 mm, a day with 1 mm and then a day of 7 mm (there was nothing in May). July we finally had rain in the double digits, 84 mm total and on one day alone 54!
Thank goodness for that rain, but for some it was too little too late.
Hay is still very expensive because people aren't getting anywhere near as much as they normally do. However it isn't as ridiculous as it was a little while ago. People were panicking and the prices were STUPID crazy. I saw round bales that would normally be $50 being advertised for $200, worse yet they were selling at that price! :o
Probably the worst one I saw was 5 year old bales selling for $150 - yes you read that right, years.
Hubster and I have actually had a bit of good luck though. First of all the guy that cuts and bales our hay field had an issue with someone else that he bales for and had almost 300 squares to sell at a decent price. It had been rained on but would still be decent cow hay so we bought that.
Our field gave us about half what it normally does, which is pretty much typical for most people around here this year (anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of a normal year). Between what we got this year and what was left over from last year we have about 500 horse quality squares.
Fortunately the drought actually worked in favour of a friend of mine, and as luck would have it I happened on his Facebook post at just the right time (less than 30 minutes after he posted). PW's status said that he had been lucky enough to get more hay than needed and was going to offer it to his friends first before advertising it publicly. Of course I sent him a PM right away! Turns out he'd gotten 125 bales off a field that last year gave him 58! WOW.
When I told him that Marge and I were both looking for hay he said he'd sell to us for $100/bale and help us load* I double checked with Marge and she was game for it, we had both been on the lookout for hay and promised to pass on leads about deals - two sets of eyes are better than one! ;) Better yet, she would haul for cost of fuel and have her hubster help unload my bales at my place (our little tractor isn't big enough for bales over 1000lbs and these ones are about 1400lbs).
*I don't get the ads I see where they state they can't help load. How do you expect people to load it themselves?
Hubster spoke to people at two local feed stores and has agreements to buy bulk amounts of hay cubes for the current price (both places are expecting the price to go up any time now) as well as to keep getting our complete feeds from the one place at the current price (as most of you know, at times like this all alternate feed sources tend to get more expensive). Even better, those cubes are in handy little bags, 40 and 50 lbs each so we get the 'bulk price' with the easier handling!
Then today we were talking to our hay guy again and Hubster asked him if he has any more hay for sale and he said "Only for you" lol We've got another 300 or so squares coming in!
Goes to show it pays off to treat people decently! :)