I’m sure you’re all reassessing your buying habits right now as inflationary prices are putting a strain on everyone. The trillions of dollars spent over the last few years (and the preceding decades) coupled with the turmoil in Ukraine is having a devastating effect on prices everywhere. Just this week, my chicken processor announced a 15% increase in fees - honestly I’m surprised they’ve waited this long as every other vendor has been raising prices steadily since 2021.
Lack of rain this year has only compounded the issue, and hay prices are up 50% from last year. I reached out to my hay guy reminding him I needed 50 bales, and he informed me he has none to sell as his first cut harvest only produced 1/2 of what he normally gets. I’ll need at least 100 bales of hay to make it through winter. I’m counting on my own hay fields to close the gap. Hopefully, the rain we're supposed to get this week will change the tide.
Since these items are weighing on me, I have started paying closer attention to grain prices. Never before have I considered not being able to buy feed. Whole grain lasts a long time, and Texas produces an abundance. However, the Russia-Ukraine conflict is straining the global markets, and much of our stockpiles are being shipped to Europe to stave off famine. We are experiencing an exponential rise in prices.
Wheat prices are already two times higher than last fall. Oddly enough, processed feed has only increased by 25% since January. My guess is they are simply using their 2021 stockpiles, when the cost was lower. To be on the safe side, I decided to purchase 3,300 pounds of wheat this week from a local farmer. Though I really wanted to buy twice as much, I couldn't bring myself to pay more for raw wheat than the current price of processed feed. Processed feed is a complete and balanced ration, whereas whole wheat is not. Unfortunately, feed that’s already processed has a shelf life (~3 months) - once cracked, the seed oils start to go rancid. If things do not change radically, feed prices will likely skyrocket this Fall.
We’ve made a few purchases recently to help mitigate this. You may recall I recently purchased a small grain mill, and last month I bought a grain cart which enables me to buy direct from local growers. Next step is to build the infrastructure to store it. Silos are the obvious solution, but not very flexible. I’ve got a couple of concepts brewing and will be putting them into motion soon, so stay tuned as we fumble our way through this. Though things look grim, I am encouraged by your support and feedback. Thank you for coming along side us we try to stay the course through these turbulent times.