CropStop: N.D. hay producer shipping to SE Minn., Texas, NB, after soggy summer

Guy Garrison of St. John, N.D., stops for fuel at a Sauk Centre, Minn., truckstop, enroute to a hay customer on a dairy farm in southeast Minnesota in late July.

2013’s HAY PAYDAY

SAUK CENTER, Minn. – Your intrepid Agweek CropStop correspondent ran into Guy Garrison at a truck stop at Sauk Centre, Minn.

Garrison is actually from St. John, N.D., north of Rolla, N.D. He grows some wheat, canola and soybeans. A fair amount of his effort is in hay. He farms with his son, Ross, his father, Harold, and his brother, Jeff. (Harold is 84 and still cuts all the hay.)

 The Garrisons had a lot of rain through late July the persistent rains, every day or two. He had 1,000 acres to start with. About 750 have been cut at least once by mid-August. About 250 haven’t been baled by mid-August. About 80 have been baled  but were damaged by moisture. Most of the rest was okay.   

In July, Garrison was hauling hay to Millville, Minn., a community along the Zumbro River in Wabasha County, near Rochester. “We’ve had four loads go down there,” he said at that point.. He just started this year with that dairy. Early loads were alfalfa but this was for dry cows – about 40 percent alfalfa and the rest brome grass.

Hay prices this summer have been relatively high. That load in late July was about $220 a ton, including delivery 570 miles.

“We’ve probably kept our prices as reasonable as we can,” Garrison  says. “I don’t feel like taking advantage of people when they get in a tough position (because of winterkill in that area). I just try to make a little money off the hay.” He says he’s hauled hay in 2012 and this year to Texas – a lot of small, square bales. Big square bales and round bales have gone to Iowa and Nebraska. “The truth is, I get the hay down there for about the same price they have to pay in Texas, and it’s better-quality hay, actually. That’s what they told me,” Garrison says.

Look for more CropStop visits in the Aug. 19 issue of Agweek, or at www.agweek.com

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