Saving Hay From Rainy Days

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Finally, the sun has come out to offer more than an glimpse and farmer Willie Milberger is taking advantage of its appearance to get as much hay baled as possible.

"Weather has not really been good towards hay production this year," Milberger said.

By this time last year, Milberger would have had a lot more hay to show for all his work. The first two cuttings of his fields did not yield as much because the ground has been too wet.

"We hadn't got but maybe one or two fields the third time so, we just going to have less production then we normally have," Milberger said.

Milberger estimates about a 15 percent loss from his first production. The first culprit was a surprise freeze in early April right at the beginning of the hay production season.

When the cold left, gray skies moved in and camped over the state. Farmer Allen Stone has been learning the ropes of hay production from Milberger and said it is obvious the problems farmers have been facing.

"We had a lot of rain in June and July which has made it somewhat difficult to produce hay and make hay," Stone said.

Now, farmers are able to spend a fair amount of time in the fields, they can assess not only production amounts but the quality of the hay.

"It has a variation in quality this year," Milberger said.

Farmers prefer not to bale wet hay because of its compromises quality. However, some farmers may not have a choice in their efforts to cut excess growth brought on by the rains.

Winter months are approaching and the complete story of hay's availability and grade will be revealed.

"I think what we'll see is different degrees of quality and quantity I guess for that matter, " Stone said.

Either too little rain or too much, farmers cannot seem to win for losing.

"We just kind of work around the weather and what God gives us to do and just do the best can," Milberger said.