Weather impacting local hay farmer’s productions and sales

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) The weather this year has had a big impact on local farmers. One local hay supplier says he's been trying to recover since late last summer.

"As long as I've lived here all my life, never have seen a fall and early winter as wet as it is today," said Randy Britten, a local hay farmer.

Hay farmers like Britten are trying to keep their supply full. He's raised and harvested coastal Bermuda grass for over 40 years and owns over 500 acres at Britten Farms.

Britten says customers tend to stock up on hay during the fall for these colder months, but they're short this year because of the hot and dry weather last summer.

"It's very difficult to find. We can get some alfalfa pretty easily, but as far as grass hay, it's almost extinct to find some to bring in," Britten said.

When hay gets scarce, the prices go up, making it harder for farmers to feed and care for their livestock.

"The most important part of an animal's health is their diet and their dietary needs have to be met. Either with good quality hay or with poor quality hay supplemented with some sort of concentrate," said Dr. Michael Martin, a local veterinarian.

Dr. Martin treats animals at the Texas A&M Veterinary School and owns horses of his own. He's struggling to find homegrown hay that won't break his bank.

"If the hay quality is very poor, that's what we're experiencing now, or if it's difficult to get locally grown hay, there's a lot more expense involved than having or buying hay that's shipped in," Dr. Martin said.

If the cold and wet weather continues, farmers like Britten may be struggling a little while longer.

"Since mid-September, we've had about 40 inches of rain. It's just the gift that keeps on giving it seems like this time." Britten continued. "We need a little dry period to let the ryegrass come out and grow a little bit for livestock producers."

Farmers like Britten could see a bigger impact on their finances.

Hay suppliers say the infestation of armyworms last fall has also impacted their production. Right now, customers are seeing a price increase of almost triple the normal amount.