Having a "hay day" in northwest Iowa - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Having a "hay day" in northwest Iowa

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ROCK VALLEY, Iowa (KTIV) -

Rain didn't stop people from hitting the streets in Rock Valley, Iowa for the 48th annual "Hay Day Event" on Thursday.

Trucks piled high with corn stocks, alfalfa, grass, and straw bales lined the streets of the downtown.

The hay and straw was judged on several categories including quality.

Along, with showing off their hay, people had the chance to compete in strap throwing and bale rolling contests.

Organizers said the turnout was hampered by the weather, but it didn't stop the fun.

"We were hoping the sun would be shining, but it didn't work out that way. It's our last hurrah, after now, soon the farmers will be in the field," "Hay Day" Organizer Paul McGill said.

The final activity of hay day was an auction where people had the chance to bid on bales per ton and for many, those purchases this year were a bargain compared to the past.

People lined the streets to get their bids in. Prices ranged anywhere from $45 per ton to more than $200 per ton depending on the kind of hay people were looking for.

"It's about half the price it was last year because there's a lot more quantity this year, a lot more supply," Auction Clerk Frank McGill said.

"I'm, yeah, happy about it because feeding our cows is about 50-percent of our cost," Maurice, Iowa Dairy Farmer Darin Dykstra said.

Dykstra said he feeds about 5.5 lbs of alfalfa per cow per day to his milking cows. He said he pays close attention to the price of their feed.

"If the price goes down far enough, we might look at upping that number a little bit," Dykstra said.

But, even though the supply is greater than last year, USDA Market News Reporter Jodie Pitcock said, overall less hay is available to farmers.

"The supplies have decreased, as more and more fields have been taken out of hay production and put in to crop production with the record prices on corn and beans. So, that alone has affected the supplies over the past five years," Pitcock said.

Pitcock said hay is graded on quality and ranges from utility, which is the lowest to supreme, which is the highest. Some small square alfalfa went for $240.00 per ton and was considered supreme.

But,that's not the norm for this time of the year.

"What we're seeing this year, it seems like a higher volume of what we would call that fair to good quality hay," Pitcock said.

And that's okay. Not all the hay farmers purchase needs to be the best quality. Dykstra says some of the fair or good quality is just fine for bedding for his animals.

Hay producers at Thursday's event traveled from Kansas, Minnesota, and even Manitoba, Canada to sell their product in Siouxland.

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