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Local 'Hay' Day

Hay bales are stacked northwest of South Heart on Bobby Kubas's farmstead. Kubas said he has sold 1500 bales to a hay farm in Kinsley, Kan.

Oil isn't the only booming business in North Dakota - local farmers are selling their extra hay to farmers in southern states, Dave Schmidt, Belfield, said, and they can't make enough of it.

"We have shipped out a hundred loads so far," Schmidt said. "They don't care if it is round bales or square bales. They want it."

It has been a good year for cutting hay, giving farmers a surplus, Bobby Kubas, South Heart, said. He added people selling cattle is also a factor.

"People are putting up three times the amount of hay they need," he said. "It's just going to go to waste if we don't move it."

Kubas sold 1,500 bales through Habiger Hay Farms in Kinsley, Kan. Owner Scott Habiger works with several farmers in North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming.

"We brought 500 loads of hay," Habiger said. "We are working with 50 to 60 farmers in North Dakota."

Hay has been in high demand in the southern part of the country due to drought, Habiger added.

"We are dry down here," Habiger said. "The southern part of the state is really dry."

"If you had a lot of hay to sell you could load three to five trucks a day," Kubas said. "The demand is really high."

Hay has sold between $55 and $75 a ton for the first cutting, Kubas said. Second cutting hay can bring $90 a ton. Kubas said they could get more if they didn't have to ship it.

"It costs a bit of money to get it down there," Kubas said. "If trucking didn't cost so much we would definitely be getting more on our end."

Truckers from the south that haul piping and material for drilling oil can make a round trip and haul hay back down, Kubas said. He added it has worked out well for him.

Schmidt said the surplus of hay has people coming to make square bales. Square bales are easier and less expensive to ship because they don't need an oversize permit."

"For an oversized load it costs more for a permit," Schmidt said. "Then you can only haul it during the daytime."

Each state requires a permit for oversized loads, Schmidt added, but some states are waiving the permits because the demand for hay is so high.

Habiger said there should be plenty of hay for sale after he is done hauling it to Kansas.

"There is a lot of hay in Montana," Habiger said. "We are getting hay out of Canada."

Kubas said he wasn't sure if there would be enough hay to fill the demands in the south.

"When it is all said and done North Dakota won't have enough hay for them down there," Kubas said. "It's unfortunate they are so dry in the south."