Hay supply low, but demand high from Kentucky farmers

WATCH | Hay supply low, but demand high from Kentucky farmers
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 12:54 PM EST
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MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Vendors are gearing up to sell hay Saturday at the Madison County Hay Auction.

It’s coming at a time when supply is low, but demand is high.

“I’ve been getting a lot more people looking to purchase hay than to sell it,” said Brandon Sears, UK Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent.

“What’s unique about the Madison County sale is that there’s an emphasis put on quality. Before each one of the bales of hay is sold, the auctioneer will read out the weight of the bale and its nutritional value.

According to Sears, the hay comes in all different varieties.

“A lot of different packages. Roll bales, small squares, we’ve got large square bales here today as well this year,” said Sears. “Depending on the weather conditions and the market for hay, the demand, we’ve had 400-500 people show up to this thing. And then in years where demand maybe wasn’t as great or there was snow or something, 150-ish.”

This isn’t one of those years.

“We had a really dry June for most of this part of the state and then we had a dry late summer and fall. So, it really kind of hurt our ability to put up hay because it just didn’t grow, and then, to compound that, we had that cold spell around Christmas that really drove temperatures down and we had to feed a lot of hay earlier than we might typically feed it,” said Sears.

Sears says the auction on Saturday will open around 10 a.m. and usually runs for a few hours.