The search for second cut hay

Hay FieldFor the last couple of years I’ve bought my hay locally from the town farm. One of the advantages of buying from them was that they would hold several hundred bales for me and deliver them as needed. I liked having the hay “on tap” and appreciated that the horses were able to have the consistency over the winter.

The downside was that they sold by the bale, rather than by the ton, and the bales differed vastly in size and weight. They also had some issues with billing.

This year, our barn decided to buy from another supplier. It started out well but then their supply got spotty. Last week they told me they weren’t likely to get any more second cut hay. Our horses have shown a marked disdain for the first cut hay that we’ve brought in as a filler. We finally found some that they deign to eat and had two tons delivered over the weekend.

Now I’m wrestling with whether to go back to our first supplier and deal with the inconsistency in the price and the billing, stick with first cut hay (which is easier to get in bulk) or try to buy directly from some of the Canadian suppliers who will bring down a trailer load of hay. I’ve never bought more than three tons and then only when I’ve had the chance to look the hay over first.

What do the rest of you do?

4 thoughts on “The search for second cut hay

  1. We’re in the same boat only our local hay guy (who is absolutely fabulous) ran out of hay for us small barns so I went off on a search for reasonably priced hay. And we have the same issue, our local hay guy charges $8.50 a bay for big 70lb+ bales… When I called about hay from other sources they quoted $6.50 for 40lb bales. Since I was searching for three buyers (co-op-like barn), some of the sellers wanted a minimum of 240 bales. But what about the quality? I was willing to drive anywhere reasonable to pick up a couple of bales… Alas, a full-time job required me to drop the search and go with old reliable Feresteins… expensive $9+ a bale (50lb) after delivery fee. At least we know that its good quality hay and the horses love it…. good luck to you!

  2. I buy my timothy and alfalfa from out neighbor actually. I’ve tried a few other local guys but they are usually brown and full of weeds. I pay $5.00 for a 60 to 70 pound bale and buy close to 400 bales a year. I’ve never considered having it shipped in just because I have access to this stuff but my other neighbor has hers brought in from eastern Oregon (orchard grass).

  3. Funny, I have asked myself this same question. (FYI Liz and I share a barn). I really like the idea of buying locally but I feel that source should not benefit from my business when I feel I have not been treated well. Sounds like you have had more positive experiences with them than I. So, perhaps we tell them we will buy hay from them if they sell by ton and treat us with respect. Otherwise we use a competitor. If they care which I’m not sure they do.
    Ideally, I think one finds a reliable source with good hay and good customer service. If that exists. LocalIf that exists. would be an added bonus. I’m looking forward to what your other readers say.

  4. I got really lucky – I bought a house with a huge concrete-floored detached garage (it looks like a barn, but it was built for car people) and I could store, oh, 9 tons easily. I just buy five tons at a time, from the supplier, once a year or so. He’s a little abrasive and I’ve heard some locals don’t like him, but he charges a fair price for EXTREMELY good hay and shows up on time and stacks it for me. I have some alfalfa mix for trailer rides and extra-cold nights, but my horse actually prefers the first-cut grass hay :O

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