This morning I found among the many news articles on horse abuse one from Minnesota giving a reason why hay prices skyrocketed:
A ton of hay costs $220 -- nearly double the $120 it cost a year ago, said Krishona Martinson, equine extension specialist for the University of Minnesota. The rising costs are attributed to drought and farmers' reluctance to grow hay, which cannot be insured through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Growing soybeans and corn is less expensive and less of a risk, Martinson said.My hay supplier here in Colorado told me many of his resources shifted to corn or other crops last year. Considering the drought, I wondered why. Crop insurance. That explains much.
The extreme drought in Colorado also explains why $220 a ton sounds cheap to us. Local hay supplies withered. Wyoming hay was over $300 a ton, and top quality hay much more than that. I can vouch for that.