Find Forage Fast Online: Websites Unite Hay Buyers, Sellers

Back-to-Back Drought Seasons Limit Supply of Forages in Some Regions

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Two straight growing seasons with drought have created high demand for forage in many places. Many websites now offer ways to match hay buyers and sellers. (DTN file photo)

OMAHA (DTN)-- Drought in some states in back-to-back growing seasons has limited the amount of hay available for livestock producers. Even in areas now in a post-drought situation, the demand for forage remains strong.

Tony Hancock, Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) market news manager, said its website to help livestock producers find hay is seeing increased interest from both buyers and sellers, according to a University of Missouri Extension news release (…).

Many of the listings come from sellers in states that have not seen back-to-back dry years, he said.

"They are aware of our situation," Hancock said.

The website lists sellers by region and forage type, as well as bale type, number and weight. Details may also include whether the hay has been analyzed, crude protein levels, acid detergent fiber levels, neutral detergent fiber levels, relative feed value and percent total digestible nutrients.

Hay listings on the MDA website will be posted for up to six months. Missouri Extension has been providing hay market information for more than three decades, Hancock said.


Tim Schnakenberg, University of Missouri Extension agronomy specialist, warns hay buyers to be cautious when buying hay from new sources. Varying sizes, densities and quality affect the hay's true value.

Hay buyers should test and weigh hay before buying if possible. Many University of Missouri Extension Centers lend hay probes for pulling tests.

The best way to tell good hay from bad is to have it tested for quality in a laboratory, he said. Schnakenberg also recommends hay buyers test for nitrates.

Buyers need to look for leafiness, weeds and seed heads. Mature seed heads are a sign of overmature crops, he said.

Also, they should keep an eye out for fire ants and other pests. This is especially true if the hay is from states where these pests are common.

Schnakenberg suggests buyers also need to buy by the ton, not by the bale.


DTN researched online hay lists by state. Most states list the information through their department of agriculture websites, but a few states have listings through state Farm Bureau websites. And some states did not have any listings at all.

Through our research, we found 28 states had some sort of hay buyer/seller listing websites.

Here are the states and websites in alphabetical order:





Russ Quinn