Rain Problems For Hay Producers

By: Joe Brown Email
By: Joe Brown Email

“This was cut 4 days ago, or actually 5 days ago, and it’s had 3 days of rain on it since it’s been laying on the ground, so the quality’s deteriorating hourly basically, and with the shower now, there’s no telling when we’ll be able to pick it up and get it off the field so that our re-growth can come back for our next cutting.”

Randy Britten says he’s talked with some hay producers either unable to make a first cutting, or unable to get their first cutting off the field.

“In some instances it’s been cut and it’s been laying there for maybe 3 weeks or 4 weeks, and ground and sky conditions haven’t allowed the proper baling time to pick it up.”

“We don’t want to get out and create a bunch of ruts through the field and mess up our turf.”

Ironically, a two-year drought yielded the same production results.

“We have better controls of our crop in drought situations as far as the management perspective. We can keep it on time as far as when we need to cut it, and get it baled up in a timely order. This summer’s just been 100% guess, if we cut today, is it going to rain tomorrow?

With optimal growing conditions, hay is cut every 24 to 26 days. Grass left to grow for longer periods can become steamy and suffer losses in protein content, and the clock is ticking on hay that’s been cut and gotten wet. Every year the weather produces winners and losers in agriculture.

“It’s one of those things that we have to deal with when Mother Nature takes over and we have no controls of our destiny so to speak.”

With no hay put up in commercial barns, the stage is set for forage shortages again this year. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.

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