|By KEVIN WALKER
EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Hay Sellers website has recently been renovated to make it easier for sellers and buyers of hay to find each other.
Until now the website had been constructed so that buyers of hay could search by area code, but this became a problem in recent years with the advent and spread of cell phones.
“It was a growing problem when cell phones became so popular,” said Jerry Lindquist, county extension director for Osceola County, and secretary for the Michigan 4-H Council. “Now we never have to change that map again.”
That map is broken up by region, so a potential buyer can bring up a list of nearby hay sellers.
About 100 sellers from across the state list all types of hay and straw for sale each year. The new website, http://web2.canr.msu.edu/hay, will display hay lots for four months to keep the list current, and the hay is listed by the ton and not by bale.
According to Lindquist, the way the hay is measured is important, especially for the “unknowing buyer.”
“There’s no unit of measure with a bale,” Lindquist said. “A bale can weigh just about anything. The buyer should get a hand scale, if nothing else, and find out what that bale weighs.”
Lindquist recommends that buyers, who are contemplating buying hay from a new seller, take a small amount home and weigh it to check on the seller’s accuracy. They should also feed it to their animals to see how they like it before buying a large amount, and do this alongside hay from another producer, to see which they prefer.
Always use the same type of hay for the comparison, Lindquist said, because sheep will eat grass just because it tastes better, even though its quality from a nutrient standpoint is less than other types of hay. Lindquist also recommends that hay be feed-tested.
The Hay Sellers Website tells a potential buyer whether or not the hay has been feed tested, if it’s organically certified, which cutting it’s from, the price and the quantity in tons. If the product is straw then the quantity is in bales.
The website also provides information on how the hay has been stored, whether or not the seller will deliver and, if so, how much he will charge, if anything.
To get to the new website, go online at http://web2.canr.msu.edu/hay
This farm news was published in the February 22, 2006 issue of Farm World.