Suffering of farmers, cows may hit meat lovers, too

US - Drought and this winter have helped create a damaging domino effect through the region’s agribusiness.
calendar icon 26 February 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Winter’s worst may be past, but the green grass of spring is still a long way off to cattle farmers in Missouri, Kansas and other parts of the country.

They are running out of hay to feed their livestock.

Farmers are losing money, paying inflated prices for the little hay there is. Others are selling herds. Cattle are hurting, to the point where cows may have trouble breeding. And as the worst hay shortage in years creates a domino effect through agribusiness, consumers could eventually see higher meat prices at supermarkets.

Years of dry weather had already taken a toll on the hay crop. Then came this winter’s ice storms, heavy snows and prolonged freezes that kept pastures covered for weeks across much of the Midwest.

That means farmers have had to feed more hay — and that holds true for at least another couple of months. But many are already out of hay. When they go to buy more, it is hard to find, more expensive and, at times, of poor quality.

“This is the first real winter we’ve had in 15 years, and when you put that with the hay shortage … it’s hard out here — on farmers and cattle,” Kevin Iseman said as he fed a precious 1,100-pound bale of fescue to registered Brangus on his farm south of Harrisonville.

Source: Kansas City Star
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