For Buyers

The following links provide listings of Manitoba producers and processors who market forage, hay and/or forage and hay products and ship across Manitoba and into  Western Canada and the United States. Click on the following listings to find some premium Manitoba hay.

If you are a Manitoba Hay Grower who would like to have your name added to the Hay Grower list provided to all visitors to our booth at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin in October, and listed on this website please contact Wayne Digby (Executive Director) at (204) 726-9393.

Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ Manitoba Hay Listing Service.

Go to the Manitoba Hay Listing.

Find Manitoba Hay Marketers & Exporters (Dairy, Horse, Beef):

Download the list you need (in pdf) or scroll down and read the information provided.

Organic Hay Listing Service

Will you have certified organic hay for sale this year?
The Manitoba Hay Listing service operated by MAFRI now has a separate category for organic hay, straw, silage and greenfeed. Pasture is NOT included on the list.
How do you add your product to the list? Visit your local MAFRI office to register your product. There is no charge for this service. Hay from past years can also be listed. If you want to buy organic hay or straw, there is a listing for that, too. Check it out here!

Manitoba Horse Hay

“Serving Canada, USA and the World”

Some of the finest quality hay in the world is produced in Manitoba. Fertile soils, a long growing season and few pests make for ideal growing and harvesting conditions.

Manitoba producers have a long history of shipping hay across Canada, USA and the world. Customers from Japan, Korea, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin are among the growing numbers of customers who purchase thousands of tons of Manitoba hay annually. You can be confident that Manitoba hay producers can meet your needs regardless of where you live.

Tips for Purchasing Horse Hay

Clean Hay is the Best Hay
Hay has to be free of dust, mold, and foreign objects; and it needs to meet your horse’s nutritional requirements. Without a doubt the biggest challenge is to find dust free hay. Dust in hay can come from mold spores, leaf shatter or other dusty situations such as gravel roads.

Mold spore dust is the most harmful to the horse. Molds form when the hay is baled too moist or the hay is improperly stored allowing moisture to enter from the top or from the ground. Mold dust acts as an allergen and can cause inflammation of the respiratory tract in horses. It may cause temporary coughing or with repeat exposure the horse can develop permanent lung damage commonly known as heaves or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This disease is primarily man made by the repeat feeding of moldy hay. The second problem with moldy hay is the possible formation of mycotoxins, which are poisonous compounds produced by molds. Moldy, dusty hay simply should not be fed to horses.

What about Smell?
Good hay smells fresh and good! Hay that smells musty, moldy, sour or sweet has experienced some type of spoilage. Hay can look perfectly green and still have molded or spoiled in some other way. Your nose will tell you this better than your eyes. Beware of the sweet or almost tobacco smelling hay. This hay has heated and the sweet smell is a result of the carmalization of sugars in the plant. Animals often like the smell and taste of this type of spoilage but it will be low in available nutrients and most likely be very dusty.

What does Color Mean?
The color of hay is determined by the variety of hay and the stage of maturity when harvested. All grasses and legumes cure a different color of green. For example, alfalfa cures a rich dark-green color while timothy cures to a light lime-green color. The difference in color does not make one hay better than the other.

Color can also indicate problems with the hay such as sun-bleaching, weathering, mold growth or heating. However, it does not tell you anything about the nutritional make-up of the hay – nutritional value can only be determined by a feed analysis.

When choosing hay you need to determine if the color indicates detrimental spoilage such as molding or heating, more superficial damage such as sun-bleaching or is just indicative to the hay variety.

Texture
Hay can range from soft and pliable to very coarse, stemmy and brittle. Try to avoid the courser hay especially if feeding weanlings. The coarser the hay, the more likely you are to have higher wastage. This type of hay may not be good value for your money.

The Feed Analysis
A feed analysis could save you a lot of money in the long run. Hay is almost a complete feed by itself. In other words, hay can meet almost all of your horse’s nutritional needs with the exception of water, salt and some micro and macro minerals. Hay often has enough protein and energy to meet the horse’s nutritional needs with no extra supplementation. When purchasing hay, the feed analysis will help you determine the correct mineral to buy and if extra supplementation of protein and energy will be required. Ask for a feed analysis from the producer when purchasing your hay and, if possible, the feed analysis should have digestible energy (DE) expressed as ‘Horse DE’.

Using smell, color, texture and the feed analysis to choose hay will result in making the best choice for your horse.

What about Preservatives?

Determining the Amount of Hay Required
Generally you should allow for 2.0% to 2.5% of your horses weight in dry matter (DM) feed (hay) per day. Horses fed free choice hay may eat up to 3.0% of their body weight in hay. You must also account for wastage: if feeding on the ground in muddy pens you may lose up to 25% or more of the hay due to trampling.

Calculation:
When new hay arrives at your farm you want to determine the weight of the bales. This is because you need to feed by weight as per the calculation above not by number of flakes (bales can vary from 30 to 85 lbs. so each flake can also vary significantly). To weigh a bale, use a regular bathroom scale. Step onto the scale with a bale and subtract your body weight from the total. Follow this same procedure with several bales. Once you know the average weight of the bales you can calculate the average weight per flake and feed the appropriate amount.
– 1100 lb horse X 2.0 to 2.5% of body weight = 22 to 27.5 lbs DM feed/day
– 27.5 lbs. X 30.5 days (average month) = 839 lbs of hay per month
– 8 months (winter feeding period) X 839 lbs = 6712 lbs (this equals 3.4 tons or 122 – 55 lbs bales)

Propionic acid is the most effective preservative for inhibiting mold growth. Studies have shown propionic acid to be safe for horses but it is well documented that mold spores can be very detrimental to a horse’s health. If given the choice between slightly moldy hay or hay treated with propionic acid, go for the treated hay.

Propionic acid will slightly change the smell and taste of the hay but horses will become accustomed to this difference within a few days to a week.

Horses are by nature herbivores. This means that their entire digestive system is designed to consume and digest forages (pasture and hay). Therefore, hay that we provide becomes one of the most important feed products that you will give your horse. Hay provides your horse with long-stem fiber required to maintain good digestive tract function and most of the nutrients that your horse needs. Hay is low in salt and may be deficient in one or more minerals so salt and a mineral supplement should always accompany hay.

Hay also provides one other seldom thought of function – it gives horses something to do. Horses in a pasture will spend up to 17 hours per day eating. When we feed rich hay or a diet high in concentrates (oats/pellets), eating time can be reduced to a few hours. Horses with reduced eating time can become bored and develop vices such as wood chewing or other stereotypic behaviors.

When looking for the right hay for your horse, keep in mind the functions of hay: fiber, nutrients and psychological fulfillment (the need to be grazing). Horses fed high hay diets are less likely to experience digestive troubles.Tips for Purchasing Horse Hay It can be confusing when choosing hay for horses. You will find as many opinions on horse hay as you will horse owners. Outlined in this directory are some important points to consider when choosing hay for your horse.

Manitoba Horse Hay Information

Table 1.  Horse Nutritional Needs (Adapted from National Research Council)
(*if problems arise related to aging you can add 7 to 10% fat to the diet.)

This table outlines the recommended minimum nutritional requirements for horses. If nutrient rich hay is fed to horses with low nutritional needs, weight gain will occur. If low nutrient hay is fed to horses with high nutritional needs then weight loss or poor growth will occur. The only way to determine the nutrient content of hay is through a feed analysis. Use the feed analysis to match as closely as possible the protein and energy that is required by your horse. Use the calcium and phosphorus values to purchase the correct mineral supplement.

Buying Horse Hay Long-Distance

Most of us feel more comfortable buying hay from our neighbor or someone we know personally. This is not always possible because of lack of forages in your area or poor growing or haying conditions in some years. So that you  always have the best quality hay on hand,  it is a good idea to have suppliers from different regions.

Getting to know the Horse Hay Producer

Contact information for each producer is provided in this directory. It is worth taking the time to get to know the hay producer. When talking to the hay producer it is important to have a good description of the type of hay you want and to get a good description of the hay you will be receiving. Some of the terms that may be used to describe the physical characteristics of hay include: leaf attachment, softness, color, odor, dustiness, foreign material, and stage of maturity. You will also want to inquire if the hay was rained on during the haying process and lastly if the hay is tarped or shedded.  Do not buy hay that has not been properly stored.

Ask for the feed analysis to be faxed to you.  Look at the crude protein and digestible energy to see if they are in a range that is suitable for your horse. Use Table 1 to help you with this process.  Finally, look at the percent moisture; it should be in the range of 9 to 15 percent. Higher moisture hay is not likely to store very well and may continue to mold even after delivery.

Pricing

When discussing hay prices always get the quote in dollars per ton or cents per pound (2000 lbs.).  This is the only way you can truly compare prices as bale weights vary significantly. Remember, your horse consumes feed on a per weight basis not by the number of bales.

Which hay is the best deal, a bale at $4.95 or one for $5.25? If the first bale weighed 65 lbs and the second bale 75 lbs., the $4.95 bale is $152/ton while the $5.25 bale is worth $140/ton.  Clearly, if we were only looking at the cost per bale, we would be paying more if we choose the lower cost per bale. Do you think you would have felt the difference in the weight of these bales if you had picked them both up?

Delivery

In Manitoba, haying season starts the beginning of June and ends in October.  During this time, haying takes priority. It is therefore important to give the producer lots of lead time. He can fit your delivery into his busy season if given adequate time. Often it is worth purchasing enough hay to get you through until October when farming and haying slows down.  In this way you won’t run short before your new delivery can be arranged.

If purchasing hay locally, it can be picked up or delivered in smaller lots to your farm.  However,  if you are purchasing hay from a distance, the hay will be delivered with a semi-truck.  These trucks hold 20 to 22 tons of hay or approximately 600 bales, weighing 70 lbs. each.  Arrange to have the hay dropped off at a yard with adequate space for these large trucks to maneuver.  If you only need a part load you will have to arrange to split a load with one or several other people, but be aware that the truck driver will likely only deliver to one yard.  Be sure to have adequate labor and/or equipment present for rapid unloading. And lastly, prompt payment to the hay producer will be appreciated and goes a long way to building a positive, trusting relationship.

Bale Types

As you have probably noticed, more hay producers are changing to medium and large square bales.  This is because they are more efficient to bale, handle, and semi-trucks can be loaded to maximum weight.  If you have the equipment to handle these large bales you may want to give them a try.  They have the advantage of stacking well, and hay flakes off like the traditional small square bale.  Because of the producers ease of handling you may be able to negotiate a better price per ton than for the labor intensive small square bales.

Final Advice

Hay is not a manufactured product; this means that there can be a lot of variability.  The producer will need constructive feedback from you in order to provide you with the product you are seeking.  Good communication will build your confidence in purchasing hay long-distance and providing you with the highest quality and most suitable product.

Product Codes for the Directory

North East Manitoba

North West and South West Manitoba

South West Manitoba continued and South East Manitoba

South East Manitoba continued

Contact your MAFRI Specialists

Jane Thornton
Forage & Pasture Specialist
Souris, MB
phone: 204-729-1387

Glenn Friesen
Carman, MB
Business Development Specialist, Forages
phone: (204) 745-5672