Is Better Hay More Expensive?
Hay cuttings differ in quality, and demand for the best can boost cost. Dr. Dan Putnam, University of California Extension Specialist and Forage Specialist, noted, “Last year Supreme alfalfa was $350 a ton--this year it’s $240.”
The time of cutting influences quality. Dr. S. Ray Smith, a state Forage Extension Specialist at the University of Kentucky, recommended purchasing the later harvest. “The third, fourth, or fifth harvests are typically the highest quality because they are leafier and cut with better drying conditions," he said. "There’s a better chance it’s cured well and leafy, with not as many stems. First and second cutting can be just as good for quality, based more on the hay itself and the quality analysis. If buying local hay in the Eastern United States with the problems curing hay in the early spring, later cuttings are safer.”
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