In the producers' defense, I swear if I hear one more time a whiner wail "I can't find any good local hay!" I am going to scream, or go blind, or something! (And of course I confess to doing the same, from time to time, lol)
Argh, you dolts! It's freaking May (Or December, January, whatever month)! Did you think the farmers would have a pole barn full to the top of perfectly cured, green leafy hay that they forgot about, or what? Heck no, anyone who found great hay, bought every single bale they could! Where were you when it was harvest time? Couldn't find a truck and trailer? (Like you don't know what time of year hay is harvested???) Didn't have any money? (Again, you don't know what time of year you need to stock up-so you did not save the money??) You want the farmer to subsidize your recreation? Really? How is that working for ya? Couldn't find the time? Hmm, those excuses are pretty lean rations for your horses, now aren't they?
And I hear this refrain pretty regular: "I got a really good deal and now the hay is no good" Um, hello? There is a reason a particular hay is much cheaper than the going rate....and you can bet it isn't because the farmer "likes you". Nope, its because the hay is marginal to start with, hasn't been fertilized, is shot full of weeds, or any number of conditions that conspire to cause hay to mold...maybe its all of them, the end the result is the same-you have a stack (or a large amount) of hay you cannot give away to other horse people. So if you are lucky you can find someone who will feed it out to feeder calves for basically less than the gas and time it took to go get it.
And just how much of that disaster is of your own making? A lot, I bet. You drug the trailer home, and maybe left it sit for a day or two-sucking up dew on top. Or maybe you unloaded it into your barn-wedging it all in, not leaving any room for air to circulate. Maybe you even closed the doors and found a pile of mushroom sprouting, smoking crap in a couple weeks, who knows. Maybe you didn't think that tarps actually conduct rains, or that visqueen causes things to heat up underneath. Maybe your Costco tent blew away and the stack got filled with blown snow-and you didn't tear apart the stack to feed out the snow laden bales first.....any number of things can happen to hay after it leaves the feild-but first it has to get picked up.
If you speak with a farmer and tell him you will be there for a certain number of bales-be there! I know I have seen guys get pretty upset when it gets to be 9 o'clock at night and they are looking at 100s of bales and only a couple people to get it picked up. Having bucked hay past midnight for this very reason I can tell you, you probably won't ever be called again to come get hay out of the fields. Plan ahead, and make it happen, and be a good customer. Bring cash if you can, and never ever write a check that cannot be honored-another sure fire way to burn your bridges with your hay grower. Leave your dogs at home, and your small children with a sitter. A hay feild with large equipment is NOT the place for toddlers!
And for heavens sake, stop whining about the price of the hay! Are you paying the property taxes? Are you paying for the equipment maintenance and repairs? Are you buying the fuels, filters, lubes, twine and whatnot? Did you write that whopping check for the fertilizer? No? Then just be quiet. These people risk tens of thousands of dollars every single cutting, betting the weather will hold out for cutting, tedding, raking and baling-and that the people who called and pleaded with them to be "put on the list" actually show up like promised. And guess what? They can loose it all, with one rain!!
Every year that I walk onto a hay feild that has crop down, I feel the strong pull to be on a tractor myself....its amazingly hynoptic and rewarding at the same time for myself. But truthfully, there are many other ways to make money, than growing hay for finicky, flighty, and untrustworthy "customers" who want everything for nothing and whine about it too. Funny how I don't hear about these same folks donating their time to get that hay up.......