I have to buy hay tomorrow. Sigh. There goes the kid’s college tuition.

I swear, going to buy hay is like visiting the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Or maybe like I’m buying diamonds or something… Cost, Cut, Clarity and Carbs…What can I afford?  What quality of grass do they have today?  Will it be high enough protein?  … Should I just get forage?!…

I’m not kidding.  Out here in CA, hay prices are ridiculous.  Right now, I’m paying $28 a bale for Timothy.  $26 for Orchard and Forage is now $21 (100lbs, small square bales.  About 14 flakes each.)

This.  Is.  Crazy.

Hay in CA is so expensive, it belongs in a museum.

I’m so upset about it… all the reasons that they gave for the prices going up (Japan is buying all the West Coast hay, the rain, lack of rain, gas prices…) are different every year.  All I know is that the prices keep going up and they never correct downward.

Clearly, this is one major reason why so many horses are dumped and why so many rescues go under here in CA.  I mean, I can remember when hay was $4 a bale here.  This is crazy.

Hay is our new Texas tea.


I know it is supply and demand and all… if we pay this price, they will continue to charge this price.  I get it…

My whole beef is that it is the horses who suffer.

Anyway, off of my soap box…

How much is hay where you live?  (I know you will have me beat, for sure!  Or at lease I hope hay is cheaper everywhere else!)


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7 comments have been posted...

  1. Calvin48

    I am also suffering from hay price shock. I bought my first horse in Iowa in 1960 (I was 12) and hay cost $.35 per bale. I moved from Iowa to Colorado in May 2017 and at that time Iowa hay was and had been for several years, $5.00 for a nice bale of mixed hay, 40 to 50 pounds. For all of last year I paid $9 to $10 for 60 pound bales of timothy. Starting in the spring of this year the price kept going up, and when I bought five bales of hay a couple weeks ago, I had to pay $19.00 each. What really makes me crazy is to bring home a bale that is less than perfect; dusty, weeds, dead animals, manure or a moldy spot – that makes me go nuts! I have to buy my hay from a hay dealer, which probably costs more, but when I called hay farmers on Craig’s List, no one answered their phone or called me back.
    I shipped two horses and a pony out here from Iowa, but one of the horses died in July and although I miss him, I’d been thinking I would have to sell one of the horses because I just can’t afford to spend $100.00 for five bales of hay. I will definitely not be adopting another horse. I don’t know how the horse rescues around here are able to feed the horses they take in. The costs just go up and up.

  2. Shelley

    You will be jealous. Ours is free. We grow our own, a neighbor cuts and bales it for us in exchange for a small percentage of the hay.

    We have glorious hay here in Michigan, no matter what type is grown. Typically here in my area of MI a 1000# grass, clover, alfalfa round bale will run you $30-45 depending on whether it’s delivered or picked up. A small – 50# – square bale is typically $3 – 3.50.

  3. Renee

    SE Arizoona – 18. for bermuda, 3 string, 105-120# and usually lousy hay, sometimes the horses won’t even eat iy! I can get better hay if I go pick it up and my horse trailer holds 30 bales, but there’s no one to hire to unload it. Kids don’t seem to want to work anymore. So yes, it’s difficult.

  4. Angie

    Hi Dawn….I feel for you. I’ve heard horror stories similar to yours about the cost of hay in California and it’s just ridiculous. Here in Colorado, I’m paying $8 for good grass hay, and believe me, thankful for being able to do so. Hope the situation out there improves soon for horses and their owners….so sad to see so many horses being dumped at auctions or so skinny.

  5. Helen Fleming

    Hi Dawn,
    Oh my, that’s pricey! I’ll ask my cousin, Jim McDermott, how much hay costs for his barn in Marin.
    Here in the Austin TX area we use primarily Coastal Burmuda as we don’t have suppliers of other varieties available to you. I drive over an hour away for the best Coastal grass, not stemmy, and pay a dollar more for the quality over the local Dripping Springs supplier…$10 for a 2-string bale.
    Mine do very well on Standlee Timothy Grass Pellets soaked, mixed with Chaffhaye. A couple others get some Crypto Aero in the mix, too.
    TX A&M has been promoting Tifton grass. It has more protein, more fiber and less sugar. Good for equines who tend to founder so their research reports. Tifton is too long and fiberus for my seniors, but a friend’s donkeys do well on it.


    I grow/bale my own hay. I do brome grass, 50lbs bales (avg)…I sell it for $5.00 if I have to pick it up. If you pick it up out in the field, $3.50 a bale. I even give people the option of storing it in my barn until they can move it….hard to get kids to pick up bales. :-)

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