Guide to Buying and Selling Hay

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Buying Hay & Feed Online

Farmers all across America experience seasons of shortage and seasons of abundance when it comes to producing hay and feed for their animals. In times of shortage, how can farmers find great quality, fairly priced hay and feed? In time of abundance, where can farmers sell their hay and feed to make a profit? An increasingly popular option has been buying and selling hay and feed online. Online, farmers can connect with a large group of individuals searching for or selling hay and feed in order to find the best deal.

What to Look for When Buying Hay and Feed Online

Buying hay and feed online can be tricky. Not being able to check the condition of the hay or feed in person means that a farmer assumes a risk of the hay and feed not being up to their quality standards. Before purchasing hay and feed online, here are some questions you should ask the vendor:

What color is the hay?

Good quality hay should be a silvery green in color. A deep green color often means that the hay has been stored for a long time, while a brown color often indicates that the hay was cut too late or dried for too long. Brown or deep green hay may cause illness to your livestock, so ensure that the hay has been properly cut and stored before purchasing.

What type of hay or feed is it?

Farmers in different regions will plant different types of hay seed while others simply bale whatever comes up. If it is not listed in the title of the product, be sure to ask the online vendor what specific type of hay or feed is listed to be sure it is acceptable for your livestock.

Do you deliver?

Not all farmers are willing to deliver their hay or feed to your location. Before purchasing, make sure you have the capabilities to pick up your purchase or request a delivery for an additional fee.

How long has the hay been stored since it was cut?

The length of time that a hay has been stored affects the nutritional value of the hay. Especially if it was not properly stored, hay and feed can become dusty and cause respiratory problems for your livestock.

What size is the bale?

Don’t assume that all farmers bundle and bale their hay or feed in the same way. Be sure that you know the size of the bales you are purchasing to ensure you purchase the right quantity for your livestock.

Which cutting did the hay or feed come from?

The hay or feed that was cut first from the field usually has more weeds that can affect whether animals will eat it. Later cuts can provide a better quality hay.

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The Best Feed for Different Animals

Hay for Cattle

What to feed a cattle is dependent on their age. A mature beef cattle can tolerate a variety of hay, even hay that is slightly moldy or dusty. A lactating cow, however, will need a hay that is high in protein such as good palatable grass hay added with some legume hay for extra vitamin A or protein. Young calves will not be able to chew coarse hay such as grass and alfalfa, so they need a soft, fine hay. This type of hay can be achieved by cutting it before blooming stage. A dairy cow requires the most nutritional hay out of all the cattle. Not only does a dairy cow need to eat a lot, but they require a more fine, palatable alfalfa hay full of nutrition.

Hay for Horses

The type of hay required for a horse depends on the maturity of the horse. A more mature horse will not need high protein and calcium levels as compared to a young horse or a mare nursing foals. Grass or alfalfa is good for most horses as long as the hay has been properly cut and stored. Be careful in making sure the hay isn’t dusty or moldy as this can cause the horse serious respiratory issues and illnesses. If you are concerned about the hay having enough nutritional value for your horses, add some legume hay to the diet to provide additional protein and nutrients.

Hay for Goats

Goats will typically eat a wide variety of foods as they roam free in pastures. The only hay goats tend to steer away from is coarse grass hay as they are unable to chew it properly. Leafy alfalfa or fine grass hay is a great feed for goats. Don’t be afraid to feed them a weedy hay as well, as they are used to eating weeds as they roam free.

Hay for Sheep

Sheeps have a similar diet to goats as they prefer fine, leafy grass and alfalfa as opposed to coarse grass. Grass hay is perfect for a more mature sheep while lambs find it easier to eat a legume that is harvested while it is still growing so that the stems are finer and easier for the lamb to eat.

Hay Testing - And Why it is Important

How can you be sure that the hay you are feeding to your livestock is providing them with the proper nutritional content? Many individuals add grains to the diet of their livestock to increase their intake of vitamins, minerals, and protein without realizing that grains can often increase the livestock’s intake of sugar and starch. The best way to ensure that your livestock is receiving a well-balanced, nutritional hay is to test it! If you are unable to perform tests yourself you can send a sample of the hay to a lab certified by the Forage Testing Council certification process. Here are some tests that you should perform to acquire the nutritional value of your hay.

  • Crude Protein Test: This test is relatively cheap to perform and tests the nitrogen content of the hay in order to determine the percentage of ‘crude’ protein.
  • Starch and Sugar: Although animals are usually fine eating plenty of sugars and starches, animals with pre-existing illnesses or animals who are young or pregnant should consume a balanced amount of sugar and starch.
  • Major Minerals: Simple tests are able to determine the amounts of specific minerals in the hay such as Iron, Zinc, Copper, and Manganese that are beneficial minerals for livestock.

These tests, along with many others, are important not only to ensure that you are feeding your livestock with a nutritional feed but also to help sell hay and feed online. Providing the results of tests such as these make your hay more attractive to buyers. The more information you can provide about your hay to online buyers, the better.

Helpful Tips for Marketing Hay for Sale Online

Selling hay online is a great way for farmers with a good harvest year to earn extra money and support farmers who are in need of more hay for their livestock. Online, farmers can reach a large market of customers and easily complete transactions. Selling Hay online requires a clear communication between buyers and sellers. There are many important details that help the buying and selling process go smoothly. SB Hay and Feed aims to add clarity during the selling process by providing a website that allows you to browse various types of hay and feed before purchasing. Although it’s easier to sell hay and feed online, how can farmers stand out amongst the competition and ensure that they sell their product quickly?

    1. Provide as many details as possible: When buying online, customers are more likely to purchase from a seller who has provided the most amount of information about the product. Be sure that in your listing you include a variety of pictures, information about the size and weight of the bales, and when and where the bales were harvested from. Go the extra mile and suggest which animals would love the hay in order to encourage a sale from a buyer looking for hay for a specific type of livestock.
    2. Make sure your contact information is easy to find: Your phone number and email should be easy to find in your listing. If a customer has questions, they need to be able to find your contact information quickly or they might move on to a different seller.
    3. Use a website specifically designed for buying and selling hay: The easiest way to reach a large range of potential customers is to sell your hay and feed on a platform specifically designed for farmers selling and buying hay. Websites such as SB Hay & Feed focus specifically on connecting farmers who have an abundance of hay with farmers who are lacking hay for their livestock. When deciding between online platforms, consider how user friendly the website is for the customer and how much you as a seller will be charged to list your hay.
    4. Provide the nutritional value of the hay in the listing description: The most important quality of hay is its nutritional value. Perform tests on your hay, and provide the results in your description when listing the hay for sale. Hay for sale that includes detailed information about the nutritional value is more likely to sell over listings that do not provide nutritional information.

Download our guide to adding products to our website.

SB Hay & Feed

SB Hay and Feed began on the principle of supporting farmers in need by providing a platform for farmers with abundance hay to sell to customers in need, regardless of the animal (horses, cattle, sheep etc.). We understand that finding the right hay, feed, straw, etc. is pivotal for the health of your animals. That’s why we work to create a platform of honest and trustworthy sellers that buyers can rely on.

Ready to browse a variety of hay for sale and to begin selling your own hay? 

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