Not so long ago, hay made up a relatively small proportion of the average horsekeeper's budget. At $2 or so a bale, this staple was generally easy to afford, and if a drought or some other anomaly caused a local shortage, the cost of bringing in hay from afar did not break the bank. Those days, it seems, are over.
In 2000, the average cost of a ton of hay nationally was $84.60 (about $2.12 for a 50-pound bale), according to United States Department of Agriculture statistics. By last year, the same amount of hay cost an average of $133 (about $3.33 for a 50-pound bale)--an increase of 57 percent. Of course, the exact figures vary by region and time of year, but hay costs have risen substantially in every part of the country.
In the July 2008 issue of EQUUS magazine, an array of experts help explain the factors behind these unprecedented price increases and, perhaps more important, how you can ease the strain on your budget. Hay may never be "cheap" again, but you can become a savvier shopper and get more for your money.
For the full story pick up the July 2008 issue of EQUUS on newsstands or by calling 301-977-3900 ext. 0.
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