'What the hay?' - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

by Jennifer Hoff

'What the hay?'

EYOTA, MN (KTTC TV) -- We've heard the headlines.

Rising food prices putting a dent in your pocketbook.

Now, another record-breaking harvest has some people asking --- 'What the hay?'

Prices for a bundle of hay spiked this year, saddling some growers with more questions than answers.

NewsCenter's Jennifer Hoff has more.

Times are tough on the horse, and its owner.

Tom Lauth, Bar and L Stable owner, "Everything has gone up 25-percent in the last year and a half."

Including the price of hay.

In fact, the Livestock Marketing Information Center says hay prices could see record highs.

Neil Broadwater, University of Minnesota - Dairy says, "As I talked to colleagues around the upper Midwest, the growing season started late for just about everyone."

Thanks to a lack of rain, farmers didn't start their first harvest until after Memorial Day.

Tom says, "The guys that were a little bit later on first crop, didn't get a second crop because it was so dry."

Because of the weather, there's been a very tight supply, but just as strong of demand for the crop.

Tom says, "I have been quoted anywhere from $150 for grass hay per ton to $250 per ton for straight alfafa."

That's straight from the horse's mouth on a ranch in Eyota.

On a national basis, hay prices are expected to be $130 per ton.

Even that surpasses last year's record of about $110 per ton.

Some farmers have also made the switch from hay, to corn because its a less labor-intensive and more profitable crop.

Neil says, "The price for corn and soybeans on the market is a little bit better than it has been in past years."

Some good news there, because in this world of unstable food prices, farmers may need something to bale them out of trouble.

Some farmers have also decided to grow their own hay instead of buying it at such a high price.

But even that is risky.

Planting hay, means labor and storage costs, as well as expensive seeds.

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