Despite rain, producers are looking at alternatives for hay

Even with some late season rains,hay production has substantially been down this year, and rather than buy hay some producers are opting to be self sufficient.

Mott farmer, James Thomas, said this season has been tough.

“I’m thinking . . . I’d classify it as one of the worst ones. There has been issues with everything. It didn’t rain until July 20. Everybody is short on grass . . . short on hay,” said Thomas.

Duane Marxen of the NDSU Extension Office in Hettinger County, said local farmers and ranchers are not in a hurry to buy hay.

“Out – of – state hay is  . . .far as prices go, are ridiculously high. You have to be able to turn a profit on this. A lot of people are turning to selling cattle than paying for high price hay, ” said Marxen.

The price of in-state hay hasn’t been much better either.

“CRP is at a $100 a bale . . . that is in state. Right now wheat hay is selling locally from $110 to $130 a ton,” said Marxen.

This season farmers like Thomas are working areas of their farm for hay, that they have never used for that purpose before. Sometimes to get just a 1/4 of a bale.

” We cut many miles of ditches and waterways that we have never cut for years , because there was hay there. The wheat wasn’t very good, so we cut a lot of wheat for hay,” said Thomas.

Thomas and his family said they usually get two bales of hay an acre in a normal season, but this season they have seen half of that.

” and you spend all year last year planning on your crop to get yields and stuff, and you end up cutting it for hay, and it’s disappointing,” Josh Greff, Mott farmer.

The NDSU Extension Service is telling farmers and ranchers to test all alternative hay sources for nitrates,before feeding it to their cattle.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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