Skip to main content

Sauk Centre Hay Auction Summary March 1, 2012

by Dan Martens, U of M Extension Educator in Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties

This information is from the Sauk Centre Hay Auction held on March 1, 2012. It is based on information provided by Stearns DHIA Lab and the Mid-American Auction Company.

Mar 1 2012 SC Hay Auction.pdf... A summary of all tested hay lots and bedding materials sold... grouped by kind of hay, type of bale and 25 RFV points... cost per pound of dry matter and per RFV point are calculated.

History of Selected Lots 2011 2012.pdf... A summary of hay auctions held this year showing Medium Square Alfalfa 101-200 RFV divided in 25 RFV groups, and medium sq. straw.

Graph SC Hay Auction 2001-2012.pdf ... A line graph of these auctions from 2001 to 2012. For the Feb 16 auction, the 176-200 RFV group is just one load - so not really an average. The next auction at Sauk Centre will be held on Thursday March 15.


This auction was probably smaller because of significant
SNOW on Tuesday night and Wednesday.

There was only one load in the 151-175 group, so the average plotted on the graph should be considered accordingly

There were 2 loads of SMALL SQUARE bales of alfalfa, 96 RFV at $120 per ton and 148 RFV at $200 per ton.

The next auction at Sauk Centre is on March 15.

Another good source of hay market information is

Ken Barnet, UWEX, offers a weekly commentary about upper Midwest hay markets at


See Winter injury of alfalfa: Putting the pieces together for livestock producers for a 2013 resource.
I'd add some discussion to this about thinking through your Plan B options:

First I'm not ready to yell "fire" and write off a lot of the hay crop. Hang onto your wits and watch like you do every spring. There are some reasons to be concerned. Some older stands have endured 2-3 wet years with field compaction and other related stressors. Some alfalfa may not have been staged well for building fall root reserves with dry fall weather... although a drier fall sometimes helps alfalfa go dormant better for winter. We had a couple of cold nights and cold soil temps in January where there was not a lot of snow cover on some fields. Spring freeze/thaw cycles can take a toll. Some cutting got quite mature last year because wet weather delayed harvest and that may have been good for building root reserves.

 In my mind Plan B thinking might include:

  • Where do I have fields that would work well for planting extra alfalfa this spring, if needed?
  • What strategies might give me the best yield of alfalfa at the quality I need in the seeding year?
    • Seeding without a cover crop?
    • Using a herbicide to control weeds early? Preplant incorporated(PPI)Treflan? PPI Prowl? Post emerge Buctril or Raptor? Glyphosate? Others?
    • Do I need a cover crop because of wind or water erosion issues? Can I spray/kill oats at 6-8" tall and gain the cover crop benefit while letting alfalfa have the field for most of the growing season (POAST herbicide).
    • Can I count on the weather to let me chop oatlage around the 20th of June or so - boot stage or earlier depending on quality needed?
  • Do I have room in my rations to allow more corn silage and not compromise the cows? Are there varieties, harvest practices, or feeding practices that contribute to making this work?
  • Will I make the best use of alfalfa N Credits for a corn crop if I have to rip up an alfalfa field? Do I have other problems growing corn where I've had alfalfa?
  • Are there any soil herbicide residual issues where I'd plan alfalfa next? This could be a sleeper with some of the prepackaged mixes we might be using now. Check product labels or talk with your sales rep or agronomy advisor.

You can add to this list based on your experience and knowledge.

 We might not have  good read on some fields until into the first week of May, depending on how spring unfolds. If you slicing roots open, it's not unusual to find some brown color in the core of the crown or center of some of the roots in 2-3 year old stands. You need to have plenty of firm white healthy tissue to support this year's production.

You might find more useful information at:

Print Friendly and PDF