Hay Production Looking Good For Start of Summer After Recent Rains

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SMETANA, TX - Local ranchers and farmers are getting a big break from mother nature

Last year ranchers were desperate to find hay for livestock because of the drought.

This year, thanks to all the rain, there's plenty to go around.

News 3 looks at why this is also good news for all of us.

Greener grass is a welcome site for Don Beavers of Snook.

This summer the rancher has been able to buy plenty of hay for his horses, cattle, and longhorns.

"This year is a lot better than it was 2011 when we had the drought and people were bringing hay in from as far as North and South Dakota, so this year we haven't had any difficulty," he said.

Last year some ranchers were having to thin their herds due the drought and higher hay costs, driving down the price per head of cattle.

But not now.

"I just feel blessed and I think everybody else does right now that we aren't having to struggle and the animals are well fed and vibrant and it certainly takes a lot of pressure off the ranchers and farmers," Beavers added.

On the other side of the Brazos River in Smetana, Randy Britten was working on his early summer harvest.

"At this time of the year this is probably the nicest June we've had this century," he said.

They've been producing hay here since 1970 and Britten was checking to see if this freshly cut hay was ready for baling.

"I got a quick test about three and a half turns they all break apart and it doesn't yet, so the stems still have a little moisture to them so it needs a little sunshine," Britten explained.

Randy Britten says this is the best looking Coastal Bermuda grass he's seen in years but he suggests people buy their hay early as nobody knows what the weather will be like later this summer.

"So we're 180 degree turnaround from '11 to this year. This time everybody's going to get to make some hay this summer," he said.

Eyes still on the skies to see if the supply will hold up.

When hay is scarce and prices go up, the cost gets passed onto the consumer when you buy beef at the grocery store.