Hay is something that many of us would not associate with the world wide web. Who would have guessed that there would be cyber-farmers cruising the net! In this wonderful time of information now even farmers can cruise the net looking for agriculture information and products.
On this web page we will discuss not only how to buy, but why to buy. We will also discuss the types of hay so that you will know what to expect from your region of the country. We will also list some important questions to ask before you buy hay from some one else so that you can assure you get what you expect and the animals eat well. At the bottom of the page there will various links that will you take you to other hay and agricultural sites.
Why should I buy hay when I can grow it.
You can grow it and many people do. Many farmers who have alot of livestock and also rasie crops do grow there own hay. They have the farming equipment and the knowledge of agriculture to make this a very viable option. If you have the equipment you can save quite a bit of money doing it yourself and we definetly reccommend that you do this. Even farmers who grow their own hay can encounter bad growing seasons in their area and may have a shortage of hay for his animals. For the owner of a large farm buying hay over the Internet can be very useful tool at times. In this situation a farmer will need to go outside of his region to find someone with a surplus of hay, and there is not any quicker or more comprehensive tool to use than the Internet.
There are many hobby farmers out there who have small farms or just a few animals, and for these people the Internet can be a very powerful and necessary hay-buying tool. These types of farmers usually have other jobs during the day and just do not have the time to invest in growing, harvesting, and bailing their own hay. The financial invest in land and equipment can be a little over whelming to many farm enthusiasts.
What Type of Hay Should I Buy?
The type of hay you should buy depends on location, climate, soil and the intended use of the hay. The hay you buy should grow in the general area. Climate is what generally determines the type of hay grown in the region. Soil conditions can cause a planter to sale a different type of hay than normal for the area. The price of types of hay differ from area to area. Shortages and other curcumstances also effect the price of hay. The type also depends on the usage such as feed, bedding, and pasturage.
Alfalfa: One of the most nutrtious crops grown for fodder, alfalfa is rich in proteins, minerals, and vitamins. The plant is remarkably adaptable to various climatic conditions, but it must have ceratin soil conditions and proper sowing. Alfalfa is used as a soil-conditioning crop and as pasturage, and in the form of silage and hay for dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep hogs, and poultry. The principal alfalfa producing states include California, Washington, Idaho, Kansas, and Oregon. Alfalfa production averages about 70 million metric tons harvested annually for hay and about 60,000 metric tons of seed.
Clover: The common name given for any of several related plants of the legume family. Most clovers are native to north temperate and subtropical regions. Clovers are important as hays and pasture plants. They are also used as soil enrichers. The most common clover in pastures is red clover, alsika clover, and white clover/ alsika clover is favored for hay and on soils of poor fertility. The familiar white clover is excellent for pasturage but us seldom used as hay because the yield is small.
Oats: The common name for the seeds or grains of a genus of plants, and for the plants themselves. The genus contains about 25 species that grow widly in the cooler temperate regions of the world. Several are cultivated for their grain, which is used as feed for cattle and horses. The green plants are often used for hay, silage, an pasture, and the dried straw is a popular bedding for livestock. Oats are important rotation crops on livestock and grain farms in the northern United States, Canada, and northern/eastern Europe.
Questions to Ask When Buying Hay
No one likes to feel like they have been cheated and here are some questions that can keep that from happening. Before purchasing hay over the Internet make sure you ask these basic questions about type qualit y, and cost of hay. With this knowledge you can greatly reduce the risk of getting less than you expected.
What color is the hay?
The best hay is usually silvery green in color. If the hay is brown it was probably cut to late or dried to long. If it is stored in a barn for very long it will turn green and will rot, mildew, or possibly start a fire
How long has the hay been stored?
Hay that is dusty can cause respiratory problems for the livestock.
What kind of hay is it?
There are many types of hay. Some farmers plant different types of hay seed, others just bale whatever comes up. Also in some areas farmers bale rice and wheat stalks or Alfa. Different livestock prefer different hay and the type that you buy will depend that is to be fed.
Was the Grass Fertilized?
Hay that was fertilized will be more nutritious than unfertilized hay?
What cutting did the hay come from?
The first cut from most fields have more weeds, which live stock will not eat. The latter cuts will provide a much more pure hay.
Are the bales square or round?
Square bales are smaller and cheaper, but are inconvenient to feed large numbers of animals. Round bales are much larger and require a tractor to move, but they feed much more livestock per bale.
How much normally should I expect to pay per bale?
Round bales usually run around $10-$15 per bale and squares bales run around $2-$5 per bale. Any bales outside of this range that you may encounter should be approached with extreme caution.
Do you deliver?
Some farmers will deliver the hay for you for a small fee. This could be a good idea if you need large amounts of hay and do not have the equipment to haul it.
Links and other Interesting Sites
Morgan's Forage Site - Information on hay, sileage, pasture, and much more.
BigBirds.com - Informatin on alternative livestock such as emus and ostriches.
Hay.net - Information for horse enthusiasts.
Angus.com - Regioanal Info on Angus Cows.
Frequently Asked Questions - Provides information about growing your own hay.
Yahoo Sites - Other interesting sites that appear when you search for hay. Some of which have nothing to do with farming, but we try not to discriminate.
!!Hey more Hay Information!! - Information on switchgrass and big bluestem. Not real exciting, but very informative.
Where to Find Hay to Buy
Hay Exchange - Great site that covers all of North America.
Ontario's Hay Producers Association - Another great Hay selling site.
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