As the summer rolls along, hay season is in full swing. This is the time that livestock producers are sizing up the current state of their pastures and determining how much hay they will need to get through this fall and winter when grass availability may be short. It is also a crucial time for hay producers to determine what they will need themselves or where they will go with the rest of their harvest.
With many parts of the country already in rough shape due to a dry spring and the forecasts looking to continue to be dry in many areas, there are multiple opportunities for hay producers to market their hay crop to a number of livestock producers throughout the country. The important part is understanding what kind of hay product you have to sell and when and where to market that hay for the best return.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when taking your hay to market:
Make sure your own house is in check
With the current price of hay this summer, it may seem very enticing to sell much of your hay crop and make a nice profit. However, if you are a livestock producer, it is important to make sure that you have plenty of hay for your own operation to comfortably get through the remainder of the year. Although the profit is very tempting right now, you don’t know what the rest of the growing season will bring. There is always the potential to oversell early and end up having to purchase more in the end for a higher price.
Know your audience
Understanding what type of hay you are producing and the type of hay each livestock species typically eats will allow you to market directly to your intended customer.
Consider talking directly to your current customers and potential customers before the growing season to understand what their needs are. This will not only help your customers get exactly what they want, but also help you be more prepared for the upcoming hay season.
Where do I market it?
There are years where you have extra hay leftover, or it may be your first year working with a certain hay crop and you don’t exactly know who/where to market your hay to. There are several different directions you can go, but here are a few options to consider:
- Friends/Neighbors: If you have any friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers who have livestock, they are all potential customers. Even if they don’t need any hay, there is a good chance that they know someone who does.
- Local Coop/Feed Store: These businesses that you work with every day are great resources to point you in the right direction. They work with livestock producers constantly and will have a great idea of who may need hay.
- Livestock Markets: Almost all sale barns and livestock markets sell hay during their weekly auction and some even have special hay sales that you can market through. These are a great option for marketing hay if you need to clear up space and move product quickly.
Understanding your target audience and having a good marketing strategy will help make this hay selling season the best one yet. Team Millborn is always here to assist in all of your hay crop planting needs. Make sure to contact your Millborn Seeds representative to talk about planting summer annual forages for hay this year, as well as seeding/re-seeding hay ground this fall!