If you buy hay for your horse(s) then you already know that hay prices have climbed steeply over the past two years. It is likely that 2022 will see a continued rise in hay prices. The question is, are you prepped and ready to handle it?
The supply and demand equation of basic economics drove hay prices higher as drought conditions hit regions of the U.S.A. during the 2020 and 2021 hay growing season.
In 2022, as grain prices continue to rise hay farmers across the U.S.A. are plowing in their hayfields and sowing grain products that offer a better financial gain. This will mean a significant decrease in the amount of hay produced in the nation.
Meantime fertilizer prices are at an all-time high, and beyond the reach of many farmers’ limited resources so whatever crops are planted yields will be lower than usual.
Add in the high cost of diesel fuel, difficulty in the labor market finding affordable help, farm equipment parts being in short supply and where available inflation driven high prices, and it is easy to understand why hay is going to cost more than ever in 2022.
Even horse owners that make frequent trips to the local hay farm for supplies, find the cost of hauling hay higher than ever before.
For the horse owner the cost of hay is one of the biggest items on the annual horse-keeping budget. While hay extenders and hay pellet products may be an option, nothing satisfies the equine need for forage like grass and high quality properly cured hay.
Now more than ever, it is the time for horse owners to think seriously about how they can improve the method by which hay is purchased and stored.
Poor storage methods lead to spoiled hay supplies. Limited storage space leads to multiple purchases in smaller quantities being required. This negatively affects both the consistency of the product for the horses’ optimum health and the price of the product as no large quantity discounts are available.
The ability to source hay during the prime growing season offers an opportunity to buy at discounted pricing off the fields or out of the hay wagons.
- Purpose Built Hay Barn – this may seem an expensive spend but ultimately it will save money on hay costs and provides the safest option for hay storage limiting impacts of a haystack fire on stabled horses and keeping hay dust/allergy inducers away from horses.
- Loft Space – the addition of a loft space in a horse barn design provides significant additional storage space and building up is usually more cost effective than building out. Bear in mind that a conveyor may be required to access the height of the storage space for hay deliveries.
- The Shedrow – an open front stall space can easily be fitted with a sliding door and allows easy access for backing up and unloading hay. Customizing a shedrow design with storage space is simple to do and cost effective.
- Run-in Shed – a quick solution that can be adapted for multiple purposes throughout the year. Tow hooks can facilitate moving the shed around with a tractor to optimal placement for use as the seasons dictate.
- Barn Overhangs – an overhang or lean-to can provide additional storage space on a temporary basis if the hay is protected from the weather with a tarpaulin or similar option.
- Empty Stalls – any area that is covered and waterproof from top to bottom can be utilized for hay storage. An average stall 12’x 10’ x10’ high will usually accommodate approximately 120 bales.
- Metal Shipping Container – condensation from a closed metal container will spoil hay, however well it was originally cured. Ventilation can be improved by not stacking the hay to the ceiling of the unit to allow airflow and not stacking to the side of the unit. Shipping containers are currently in short supply, however.
- Trailers – a horse trailer or a dry box van can be used for hay storage with the same caveats as the metal shipping container. If a side door is available in the box, it may be fixed to an open position to allow better airflow. However, damage from rain and humidity can then occur.
- Tarpaulin Cover – horse hay stored outside with a tarpaulin cover will be subject to damage from the weather and may be hard to keep secured in high winds and adverse conditions. It will also be hard to access on a daily basis.
As with most things in life being prepared can save much angst and issues later. With hay shortages expected, it is smart to secure your hay supply as early in the year as possible. Best hay prices are usually during cutting season, but some farmers will offer standing hayfields for sale.
Always buy the best quality hay you can afford. Buying cheaper hay that is of questionable quality not only poses a real colic and respiratory health risk to your horse, but it will also have a higher wastage percentage. This makes it a poor economic choice.
To cut down on wastage consider purchasing an equine hay feeder. These can save up to 30% on hay costs when used correctly, even for small square bale use on a small lot.
Always use a specialist horse feeder rather than one designed for cattle to minimize risks of injury to the horse from the feeder and always remove halters on horses pastured with feeders present.
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About Horizon Structures: One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners. At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.
All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –
Horizon Structures also sells chicken coops, equine hay feeders, greenhouses, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures and playsets.
Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook. Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business. He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.
For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com
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Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.