To Sell To Horse Market, Learn What Customers
Find out what horse hay customers are seeking, then
figure out how to deliver it, suggests Don Kurtz, a horse hay marketer
at Wheat Ridge, CO. Kurtz will share successful selling strategies on
Nov. 30 at the two-day Western Hay Business Conference and Expo in
"According to a recent Colorado Department of Agriculture survey, there
are around 140,000 horses in Colorado, and around half of those horses
need purchased hay," he says. "Depending on the age and activity level,
and the amount of grain and pasture being used, a 1,000-lb horse eats
around 4 tons of hay per year."
Kurtz buys small, square bales by the semi load from hay and straw
producers in various states. He then delivers it within three to five
days to his horse hay customers. A common delivery size is three to five
tons, with some customers taking more. "I serve a niche market of
customers with between one and 12 horses, in addition to some stables,"
he says. "I find out what my customers want to buy and then try to
provide it." Kurtz likes to have two or more suppliers of a particular
type of hay with more than 100 miles between them. "I figured out it's
in my best interest to have more than one source, so if one source has
rain or drought issues, I have other options. I try to help sustain the
relationship with my growers by buying some hay from them every year."
Kurtz estimates that about 65% of the horse owners in his area feed
straight grass hay, 10-12% feed straight alfalfa hay, and the rest feed
a grass-alfalfa mix. He sells most of his hay within a 100-mile radius.
Color is still one of the most important attributes horse owners
consider when buying hay, Kurtz adds. "While color may not be the
biggest indicator of nutritional value for the horse, it's not the horse
that writes the check, it's the person. And color is what sells horse
hay," he notes. "Rather than try to fight this constantly, I try to have
green hay on hand."
Kurtz advertises for customers in targeted horse industry publications.
"I never cease to be amazed by the hay-for-sale ads in regional general
ag weeklies," he says. "What is the readership of those publications? If
you want to sell horse hay, advertise in a horse industry publication."
He points out that different segments of the horse industry have
specific regional and national publications, like Western horse riding
publications or English riding publications, for example. Some
publications target boarding stables and racetracks.
Taking care of existing customers is very important, he adds, because
finding new customers is not easy or cheap. "I treasure loyalty, both
from the farmers and ranchers I buy hay from, and from my customers.
There is a significant cost to getting new customers so I will move
heaven and earth to meet my customers' needs and keep them satisfied."
Contact Kurtz at 303-422-8883.
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Hay Growers, Marketers Reveal Strategies Nov.
Hay industry marketers will tell what works for them at
the Western Hay Business Conference and Expo, to be held Nov. 29-30.
Registration is still open for the conference, located at The Ranch
conference facility, Loveland, CO.
"The goal of this conference is to help hay marketers increase hay sales
and profits by gaining insight into new ideas and strategies," says
Steve May, publisher of Hay & Forage Grower magazine. Speakers
include hay growers who have developed innovative solutions to a wide
variety of challenges, in addition to experts from universities,
consulting services and companies serving the hay industry.
Learn about how innovative hay growers are opening new markets, both
internationally and within the U.S. Find out if there is enough demand
for organic hay to justify the added effort to produce the product.
Learn about selling to the fast-growing horse hay market. Listen to
dairy industry veterans talk about designing alfalfas for better
performance in dairy rations. Take a thought-provoking look at Roundup
Ready alfalfa, conservation-friendly timothy and alfalfa seedbed
establishment, irrigation challenges, and the variable results between
forage analysis methods. Visit an extensive trade show devoted
exclusively to hay industry products and services.
The cost to attend is $150. Refer to www.hayconference.com to learn specifics or to
register online. Or register by calling 800-722-5334
Weed-Free Hay, Straw Program Offered In
Indiana forage producers could gain another marketing
opportunity for both hay and straw if they make use of the new Indiana
Noxious Weed Seed-Free Forage and Mulch Certification Program.
The demand for noxious weed seed-free hay and straw is growing, says
Keith Johnson, Purdue extension forage specialist. A hay grower can use
the certificate as a possible selling point to customers who want clean
hay. And demand is growing from contractors needing straw for highway
construction erosion-control projects as well as from people who take
hay on trail rides into national parks, Johnson adds.
To obtain weed-free certification, producers each pay $500 for a
lifetime Indiana Crop Improvement Association (ICIA) membership fee, a
$10 application fee, a $10-per-field fee and a $2.75-per-acre field
inspection fee. There is also a nominal charge for certification bale
tags. ICIA inspectors then make sure the pre-harvested crop and areas
where it is stored are free of noxious weeds and noxious weed seeds.
Neither the crop nor the storage area may contain seed of 67 invasive
weeds. ICIA personnel check whether any noxious weeds have reached the
flowering stage. If they have, the fields or areas will not be
certified. Parts of fields can be certified as noxious weed seed-free.
The list of noxious weeds includes Canada thistle, musk thistle, wild
garlic, wild onion, cocklebur, Johnsongrass, giant foxtail, buckhorn,
pennycress, field pepperweed and Eastern black nightshade. If a
designated area or field is found to be free of the listed weeds,
producers can harvest the crop within 10 days and call it certified
noxious weed seed-free. Inspections are made of each cutting to be
harvested. Certified hay and straw can contain weeds not found on the
noxious weed or undesirable plant list.
Indiana is one of the first states east of the Mississippi River to
offer such a weed-free certification program. Administered by ICIA, the
program was developed in part by Purdue University.
Learn more about it at www.indianacrop.org/weedfreeprogram.htm. Call ICIA at
866-899-2518 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trust us. Your cows will thank
you for it.
Treat your alfalfa with SENCOR® Herbicide. It takes care
of winter annuals that can seriously reduce nutritional value. So you
get hay that's worth more and you'll get the kind of quality cuttings
cows can really sink their teeth into. www.bayercropscienceus.com
It was a good year for forage production in most of
Colorado, according to William Wailes. He's a Colorado State University
extension dairy specialist and speaker at the upcoming Western Hay
Business Conference and Expo. "Our moisture levels in Colorado were good
based on the amount of snowfall and reservoir water we had for
irrigating the crop," he relates. "Many farmers had problems with
climate conditions during various cuttings, but we were still able to
get a number of tons of dairy-quality hay put up. There was more alfalfa
haylage put up in the area this year. We had a great harvest of corn
Wailes says hay prices are fairly average so far this fall, with
dairy-quality hay ranging between $80-110/ton, depending on quality and
cutting. Colorado is a hay-deficit state. Wailes says many people have
already bought hay for winter, much of it from Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming
In addition to helping Colorado dairy farmers with financial and
production information, Wailes is also a partner in a large dairy. He
will speak about designing alfalfas for better performances in dairy
rations on Nov. 30 at the hay conference.
Learn more about the conference at www.hayconference.com. Contact Wailes at
There may be a shortage of all types of hay in
Pennsylvania this winter, reports Marvin Hall, Penn State extension
forage specialist. "Because of the dry weather in some areas of the
state this year, we didn't get as much tonnage as we would normally
expect," he says. "I'm telling producers that they should start
monitoring hay quality and where it fits in the ration, so they can
start working on their winter hay needs early. If people are going to
need hay, with fuel prices being higher, it is not going to be cheap to
ship in. We are going to have to scour around a bit more for locally
grown hay this year."
Thinning orchardgrass stands are perplexing producers in southeastern
Pennsylvania. "We have been looking at causes such as grub feeding and
dry weather, but there may be more involved than that," Hall says.
"Orchardgrass has been a stable crop for us and we don't generally have
to worry about stands thinning. I am working with a plant pathologist
and entomologist to find answers." Cereal leaf mites can be a problem in
timothy fields in spring, so some producers switched to
A total of 105 loads of hay sold at the Nov. 7 A&C Diffenbach Hay
Auction in New Holland, PA. Alfalfa hay sold for a high of $285/ton,
with an average price of $181/ton. Mixed hay claimed a high price of
$265/ton, with an average of $168/ton. Timothy topped out at $240/ton,
with an average of $186/ton. The highest price for orchardgrass was
$215/ton, with an average of $153/ton. Straw sold for $195/ton at the
high end, with an average of $167/ton.
A&C Diffenbach Hay auctions are held on Mondays at 10 a.m., Eastern
Time. Contact the auction at 717-355-7253.
Contact Marvin Hall at 814-863-1019.
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**Nov. 21-22 -- Iowa Forage and Grassland Council
Annual Meeting, Des Moines Airport Holiday Inn. Contact Joan O'Brien
**Nov. 29-30 -- Western Hay Business Conference and Expo, The
Ranch, Loveland, CO. Learn more by calling Cindy Kramer at 952-851-4698,
or by visiting the conference Web site at www.hayconference.com.
**Dec. 2 -- Sheep and Meat Goat Training Program, Kirksville, MO.
Contact Bruce Lane at 660-665-9866 or Garry Mathes at 660-665-7049. Or
go to missourilivestock.com and click on Sheep and Meat Goat
**Dec. 2-3 -- Missouri Livestock Symposium, Kirksville. Programs
on sheep, meat goats, stock and guard dogs, horses, beef cattle,
forages, swine, crops and more. Name entertainment and trade show.
Details at missourilivestock.com, or call Bruce Lane at
660-665-9866 or Garry Mathes at 660-665-7049.
**Dec. 6-7 -- Midwest Dairy Expo, St. Cloud Civic Center, St.
Cloud, MN. The 2005 expo features nationally known speakers, educational
programs and exhibits of dairy supplies and services. Contact trade show
coordinator Eir Garcia-Silva of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association
at 320-203-8336 or visit email@example.com.
**Dec. 7-8 -- Midwest Forage Association Farm Bill Forum and Research
Summit, Holiday Inn Select, Minneapolis, MN. Contact Midwest Forage
Association at 651-484-3888.
**Dec. 7-8 -- Manitoba Grazing School, Keystone Centre, Brandon.
Contact Marc Boulanger, Manitoba Agriculture, at 204-889-5699.
**Dec 12-14 -- California Alfalfa & Forage Symposium and Trade
Show, Visalia. Learn more at alfalfa.ucdavis.edu or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Dec 14-15 -- Kansas Hay and Grazing Conference, Hutchinson, at
the fair-grounds. For pre-registration or more information, call KFRM
Radio at 888-550-5376.
**Dec. 15 -- Alabama Forage Conference, Troy. Learn more at www.alabamaforages.com or call Don Ball at
**Jan. 18-19 -- Washington State Hay Growers Association Convention
and Trade Show, Three Rivers Convention Center, Kennewick. Learn
more at www.wa-hay.org.
**Jan. 19-20 -- Southwest Hay Conference & Trade Show, Ruidoso
Convention Center, Ruidoso, NM. Learn more at email@example.com, or call 505-626-5677 or
**Jan. 25-26 -- Heart of America Grazing Conference, Cave City,
KY. Call 270-365-7541.
**Jan. 31- Feb. 1 -- Midwest Forage Association 2006 Symposium and
Annual Meeting, Stoney Creek Inn, Mosinee, WI. Call MFA at
**Feb. 3 -- Northern Indiana Grazing Conference, Shipshewana.
Call 260-463-3471, ext. 3.
**Feb. 7-8 -- Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association's Mid-America
Alfalfa Expo, Kearney. Contact Barb Kinnan at 800-743-1649 or visit
**Feb. 23 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Lexington. Contact
Garry Lacefield at 270-365-7541, ext. 202.
**Feb. 27-28 -- Idaho Hay and Forage Association Meeting, Red
Lion Canyon Springs Hotel, Twin Falls. Learn more at www.idahohay.com/.
**March 10-14 -- 2006 American Forage and Grassland Council
Conference, Westin Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, TX. Learn more at
www.afgc.org, or call
Dana Tucker at 800-944-2342.
**March 14-15 -- Midwest Hay Business Conference and Expo,
Ramkota Hotel, Sioux Falls, SD. Sponsored by Hay & Forage
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