Putting The Marketing Pieces Together
Mike Brosnan uses a variety of marketing tools to
attract hay customers. And once he finds new clients, he works hard to
maintain good business relationships. Brosnan, owner of Brosnan Farms,
Huron, SD, got his start by helping his father, Walter, with the
family's commercial hay enterprise. After his dad's death in 1986,
Brosnan, his wife, Yvonne, daughters Laura and Jackie, and now Jackie's
husband, Derik Kleinsasser, gradually changed the farm's focus from
cattle, wheat, corn and 245 acres of alfalfa to more than 3,500 acres of
mostly alfalfa hay. They sell dairy and beef hay to customers all over
the U.S., using their own trucks to deliver.
Brosnan, a member of the National Hay Association, says attending trade
shows is a valuable way to meet new customers and keep in contact with
existing clients. When he meets potential new buyers, Brosnan hands them
each a brochure with all the important information about his operation,
plus a business card giving contact information.
A colorful and inviting Web site also helps him reach new customers.
"The Web site has been great for our business because people can see who
we are," he says. "A lot of people are just selling hay, but we are
selling a relationship. I want to get to know my customers, and they
want to get to know me. The hay business demands integrity and honesty."
A local company developed the Web site and brochure, both of which tell
the history behind his operation and the hay he produces.
"I don't take any orders from the Web site," he adds. "I want to make
sure I understand what people want from the hay they are seeking. I like
to talk to the people over the phone to gather more information."
Brosnan produces big square bales using six balers at once. "We bale a
lot of hay in a short period of time, so our product is more
consistent," he says.
Six South African employees, hired through an agency called Employment
USA in Aberdeen, are fully employed from May through November each year.
Most of them have farms at home and enjoy coming to work in the U.S.
when it is winter there. "In addition to an hourly wage, I pay my South
African employees' airfare and living expenses, and give them a vehicle
to drive. We built a four-bedroom apartment building on our farm to add
an extra incentive."
Almost all of Brosnan's hay, sold based on test results, is barn-stored.
Three full-time truckers haul hay year-round in three over-the-road semi
trucks that frequently back-haul steel and lumber. Four farm-licensed
semis are used for shorter hauls. Brosnan says owning his own trucks has
helped win some customers' business.
The demand for Brosnan's hay keeps expanding. He strongly believes in
working hard to figure out what the customer is seeking, providing a
quality product and striving to maintain a good, long-term relationship.
Contact Brosnan Farms at 605-352-7728. Visit the Web site at www.brosnanfarms.com.
You can prevent stand loss. You can reduce dry-down time. You can
increase alfalfa forage quality, stand longevity and yield. You can
do it with Raptor® herbicide. Research trials prove that the
superior performance of Raptor controls grasses and broadleaf weeds,
enabling your alfalfa - and your bottom line - to thrive.
The chemical company.
Always read and follow label directions.
Raptor is a registered trademark of BASF. © 2005 BASF
All Rights Reserved.
Creating A Hay Marketing Business
The trials and tribulations of establishing a new hay
marketing business will be discussed at the upcoming Midwest Hay
Business Conference & Expo, March 14-15 in Sioux Falls, SD. Bob Bleeker,
sales manager, Dakota Premium Hay, Yankton, will explain the process and
roadblocks he experienced while creating the five-year-old company.
Dakota Premium Hay's core business is re-packaging alfalfa and
alfalfa-orchardgrass mix hay almost exclusively for horse hay customers.
The company starts with 3 x 3' bales. The re-packaging process involves
compressing the hay with a Steffen Systems press. Compressed bales are
then shrink-wrapped and palletized for ease of handling and shipping.
The finished product is a 17 x 18 x 24" 60-lb bale. The bales go
primarily to wholesale and retail sellers of horse hay.
Most if the hay comes from South Dakota and Nebraska growers. Dakota
Premium Hay is a limited liability company run by a board of directors.
Learn more about the company at www.dakotapremiumhay.com/.
Bleeker will take part in an innovative hay marketers panel on March 14.
Learn more about the conference, to be held at the Ramkota Hotel, by
visiting www.hayconference.com. Or call 800-722-5334 and ask
for Cindy Kramer.
Register By March 9 And Get Second Person In
Get your hay business off to a great start in 2006 by
attending the Midwest Hay Business Conference & Expo in Sioux Falls, SD,
March 14-15. Register by March 9 and you can bring a business partner
for no additional cost. Just call 800-722-5334, ask for Cindy Kramer
and be ready to provide payment and the name of the person accompanying
you. Your registration fee will be fully refunded if you are unable to
Trucking Rules Suspended For Drought-Stricken
Carriers transporting round hay bales to
drought-stricken parts of Texas don't have to worry about permitting
requirements and legal height restrictions, reports the Texas Farm
Bureau Federation. Texas Gov. Rick Perry waived those rules and directed
carriers with loads higher than 14' to contact the state transportation
department's motor carrier division to get expedited routing. All other
legal requirements, including licensing, registration, insurance and
safety, remain in place.
The transportation department had recently begun enforcing a 14' height
restriction on hay loads. Round bales stacked two high on a straight
deck trailer generally exceeded that limit, forcing truckers hauling to
drought-stricken herds to unload hay before reaching their destinations.
Neilan Smith, a Plainview hay producer, was unloading hay twice each
time because of the hay height restriction. He worked with the Texas
Farm Bureau to bring the matter to the governor's attention. That waiver
will expire April 30.
Source: Texas Farm Bureau Federation.
For industry-leading cutting capacity, no
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a new level of CONTROL that makes you more productive. Choose from a
broad selection of sickle, disc and draper headers to match your
capacity and performance needs. To learn more, see your local New
Holland dealer or call 1-888-290-7377. www.newholland.com/h4/
Iowa Auction Report
Dry field conditions dominated conversation at the
March 1 hay auction at the Dyersville Sales Company, says Dale Leslein,
hay auction manager. Subsoil moisture is low in southern Iowa and
northern Illinois. Hay stocks are down, he says. Some producers are
holding remaining hay supplies to feed to their own cattle if the
low-moisture conditions persist.
At the auction, demand was good, particularly for better-quality hay. A
total of 961 tons were sold. Demand was soft for lower-end hay and
bedding, Leslein says. Second- through fourth-crop mixed hay that was
barn-stored, with good color, sold well.
Large square bales of supreme alfalfa hay sold for $107-110/ton;
premium, $92-120/ton; good, $72-90/ton; fair, $60-70/ton; and utility,
$40-50/ton. Large round bales of premium alfalfa went for $102/ton;
good, $75-87/ton; fair, $47-70/ton; and utility, $27-50/ton.
Good mixed hay averaged $92.50-110/ton for large square bales and
$87-102/ton for large round bales.
Sales are held at 11 a.m. CST on Wednesdays. Contact Leslein at
563-875-2481, email email@example.com, or
Ohio's alfalfa and grass hay fields seem to be coming
out of winter in fairly good shape, reports Mark Sulc, Ohio State
University crop scientist. Crown buds are green, but plants were not yet
growing as of last week. Last summer, many parts of Ohio were dry and
producers made late-fall alfalfa cuttings. "I'm not expecting big
problems with the alfalfa crop or grasses," Sulc says. Growers there are
interested in planting annual forages for grazing, he adds.
Contact Sulc at 614-292-9084, or visit Ohio State University's forage
Web site at forages.osu.edu/.
Oklahoma has been hot and dry, with temperatures even
above 90 degrees, says John Caddel, Oklahoma State University forage
agronomist. That means alfalfa weevils have had extra time to get
established. "Most places in Oklahoma will probably have to spray twice
this year because of a prolonged hatching period," he says.
Much of the alfalfa in Oklahoma has been sprayed for spotted alfalfa
aphids or cowpea aphids already this winter, and alfalfa weevils are
hatching. With the dry, hot weather, some producers are mistaking weevil
feeding on very short alfalfa stems as a sign of drought. In many cases,
spraying to relieve the pressure from alfalfa weevils will help the
alfalfa green up, but it will take a good rain to make it start growing
Alfalfa hay movement in Oklahoma continues to be active, and alfalfa and
grass hay prices are staying firm, according to the March 2 USDA hay
report. Cattle are moving off of wheat pastures in large numbers, and
supplemental feeding continues for most livestock.
In central and western Oklahoma, premium-quality alfalfa brought
$120-140/ton for both large square and small square bales. Good-quality
alfalfa, in large square bales, sold for $100-120/ton; in large round
bales, $90-100/ton. Fair-quality alfalfa, in large square bales, went
for $80-90/ton; in large round bales, $70-80/ton.
In central and eastern Oklahoma, grass hay sold for $70-80/ton for
premium-quality large square and small square bales; good-quality small
square bales went for $65-75/ton. Large round bales of premium-quality
grass hay sold for $60-70/ton; good-quality, $50-60/ton. Check detailed
hay price quotations for Oklahoma at www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/OK_GR310.txt.
Contact Caddel at 405-744-9543, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NK Brand Alfalfas deliver
more quality AND more yield. Our premium alfalfas, like Genoa,
Expedition and Boulder, combine high nutritional values with high
yields, plus outstanding agronomics and persistence for longer,
healthier stands. The result? More profit from your alfalfa acres -
whether you feed it or sell it. www.nk-us.com
Texas Dairy Nutrition Meeting Is April
The 2006 Mid-South Ruminant Nutrition Conference will
be held April 19-20 at the Arlington Hilton at the Dallas-Fort Worth
International Airport. Experts from across the country will explore
topics on feeding dairy cattle for optimum milk production. Registration
received by April 5 is $80; after that day, the cost is $95. The
conference is sponsored by the Texas A&M University Extension Service
and the Texas Animal Nutrition Council.
Contact Ellen Jordan, Texas extension dairy specialist at 972-952-9201
**March 9 -- Michigan Alfalfa Technology
Conference, Lincoln Room, Kellogg Center, East Lansing. Visit web1.msue.msu.edu/fis/ (click on "Workshops"), or
contact Richard Leep at 269-506-6196 or email@example.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 Grower.
**March 22-23 -- Manitoba Forage Symposium, MacDon Product
Showcase Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Call the Manitoba Forage Council
at 204-768-2782, or visit www.mbforagecouncil.mb.ca/Default.htm.
**April 21-23 -- Midwest Horse Fair, Alliant Energy Center,
Madison, WI. Learn more at www.midwesthorsefair.com.
**April 28-30 -- Minnesota Horse Expo, Minnesota State
Fairgrounds, St. Paul. Learn more at www.mnhorseexpo.org.
**May 25 -- University of Florida Corn Silage And Forage Field
Day, Plant Science Unit, Citra, FL. Contact Jerry Wasdin at
352-392-1120 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or
visit www.animal.ufl.edu. Under "Dairy Cattle," click on
"Corn Silage Field Day."
**June 14-15 -- 4-State Dairy Nutrition and Management
Conference, Grand River Center, Dubuque, IA. Call Dave Fischer,
618-692-9434 or Leo Timms, 515-294-4522.
**Sept. 7-9 -- National Hay Association 111th Annual Convention,
Snow King Resort, Jackson Hole, WY.
**Oct. 3-7 -- World Dairy Expo, Alliant Energy Center, Madison,
WI. Learn more at www.worlddairyexpo.com.
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