Maryland's first public hay auction opened last week in Frederick County. The market is scheduled for 1 p.m. every Thursday, rain or shine.

In addition to hay, the market will handle straw, ear corn and firewood. Firewood will be sold by the cord; other commodities will be sold by the ton.

Auctions take place at the Mullinix Grain and Fertilizer Co., 3810 Ballenger Creek Pike, about one quarter of a mile west of the Eastalco Aluminum Co. plant west of Buckeystown.

Prospective buyers and sellers should begin registering at 11 a.m.; all buying will be done by numbers.

Sellers will be charged a registration fee of $3 per truckload and a 3 percent commission will be charged on gross sales of all commodities. Selling prices will include free delivery to buyers within a 10-mile radius. Buyers and sellers will negotiate fees on longer hauls.

The auction was established as a public service by the Cooperative Extension Service of Frederick County and the Frederick County Farm Bureau. It was created to meet the needs of small and part-time farmers, according to Extension agricultural agent Terry E. Poole. In the past, Poole said, Frederick County hay was often shipped to nearby Pennsylvania auction markets, sold there and trucked home again by buyers who lived in the county.

Rule cards and other sale information is available from the Frederick County office of the Cooperative Extension Service or from the Mullinix Grain and Fertilizer Co.