Hay Shortage Forces Sale of Cattle

US - On his Southern Illinois spread where some 450 cows and calves look to him for food, Dale Moreland finds disappointment the only thing that seems to be growing these days.
calendar icon 2 November 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
And his headaches are over hay.

The 55-year-old cattleman, like so many others in the Midwest and elsewhere, lament that the one-two punch of a spring freeze and months of drought has savaged his hay crops and kept pastures from greening, forcing producers to tap hay stockpiles months earlier than usual.

The scenario has left beef producers with few options other than selling off chunks of their herds out of worry there won't be anything to feed them through winter or jockeying to buy increasingly scarce hay elsewhere at higher prices.

"I can name several guys down here with 50 to 100 cows who normally buy all their hay, and there's just none to buy," Moreland said Wednesday, expecting to be selling off all but about 25 of his 275 calves in the next month or so "to get down to the bare minimum for winter."

"We're kind of in survival mode," he says. "It's not a good situation."

Such tales of woe aren't unusual across U.S. regions scorched by drought, cutting hay production by as much as 80 percent in Tennessee to 50 percent or more in Kentucky. Much of Virginia, which usually produces three cuttings, got only one this year.

Source: Belleville News Democrat
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.