Hay Production

By: Joe Brown
By: Joe Brown

“The limited amount of rain that we’ve had, some spots have been more blessed than others, timing wise it just hasn’t happened for us this year. We were able to make three cuttings on pretty much everything that we have, but compared to a normal yield it’s probably between 35% and 40% of our annual production.”

Randy Britten is a local hay producer.

“We’ve been buying hay up north, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota primarily so far, but those three particular states are not much better shape than we’re in.”

Some growers in those states are predicting shortages of their own come February.

“Reflecting that theory, the price is basically going up weekly right now as far as what we can find available.”

Beef producers who aren’t usual hay buyers have been forced to scramble for forage.

“They rely on their grass that’s grown through the summer to get their cattle through and they supplement with some protein through the winter, but a lot of those folks, their ground is fairly bare or bare to the dirt.”

And that will create a sustained demand until next spring. The question now becomes can hay producers get a fall cutting?

“We still have time to grow a decent crop of hay for this area. A lot of it will kind of depend on our heat units. Usually the first of October is what I use as the cut-off for the growing season. “

The rain earlier this week was a great start, but the recipe remains rain and sunshine, and with shorter days and cooler night temperatures, most hay producers still have a wait and see attitude. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.


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