A nationwide drought is pushing the price of each and every hay bale.
Reporter Sarah Gustin has details on those going to extreme measures to make sure their cows have enough to eat this winter.
Dry times are making these hay bales worth a cash.
(KaSondra Staiger / Burleigh County Extension) "The prices really vary, but typically you are going to be paying upwards of a 100 and some dollars a ton for hay regardless."
Burleigh County Extension Agent KaSondra Staiger says in some areas high quality alfalfa is bringing more than 300 dollars a ton, while good grass hay is ranging between 80 and 150 dollars a ton.
While no hay thefts have been reported in our area, ranchers in other states are becoming a target.
Hay thefts are happening throughout the Midwest and the corn belt.
Staiger says recent hay thefts could be a rancher strapped for cash trying to hold his herd together or someone looking to make a buck.
(KaSondra Staiger / Burleigh County Extension) "It doesn't have to be happening in a state where there is a large drought. North Dakota is probably one of the cheapest places there is to buy hay. Good quality hay with a high relative feed value and a high crude protein value is running anywhere between 250-300 dollars a ton. There is a large profit to be made especially if you are not the one to be putting in the cost."
Staiger says just because we haven't heard of hay thefts happening in North Dakota, doesn't mean it can't happen here.
(KaSondra Staiger / Burleigh County Extension) "Be aware of your surroundings, if you live along a major road, think about pulling your keys from your tractor, yes they can come in and hot wire, but it's going to make it more difficult, for those states where they are experiencing high thefts they are recommending that guys padlock gates, while this might not completely deter them it is going to make it harder. In some extreme instances where producers are really having an issue with hay thefts they are even spray painting bales to mark them. Do I think we need to go to that extreme here in North Dakota? Probably not, but beware of what's going on."
Staiger says if possible keep your hay supplies close to the yard and count your rows and stacks.
In Colorado, hay thefts rose from 7% in 2011 to 15% in 2012.