GREAT FALLS — A late freeze last year that cut into hay production and a wet spring this year that is extending the hay-feeding season has resulted in a tight supply of hay and rising prices.
The average price for hay in Montana in April was $160 per ton. That's a 61 percent increase from a year ago.
Montana ranchers say pastures aren't cut off by snow as they were last year, but the pastures aren't ready yet so hay is still being used.
Shane Chauvet, who ranches near Big Sandy, said ranchers need some moisture and some warm days.
Chauvet said he would usually be selling hay at this time, but he's holding onto what he has left.