A neighboring rancher recently purchased thirty of last year’s round hay bales from us. When he loaded up the last bale, he turned to Pete and said, “If you’ve got any more hay to sell, let me know. Ya know, hay’s gonna’ go high this year.” It’s estimated that hay could sell for upwards of $200 a ton this year, well above recent hay prices.
While we don’t know where our neighbor will end up selling his hay, we are aware that Oklahoma and Texas are suffering through a historic drought that extends through Georgia and Florida; and these areas will, unfortunately, have significant hay demands. So severe is the crisis that the USDA is offering low interest loans of up to $500,000 for Texas farmers and ranchers who have lost 30 percent of more of their pastures or crops to the drought. These agricultural producers have suffered in a number of ways including the added costs of irrigation water; and failure of crops to mature and livestock to put on added weight gain due to poor grazing.
In contrast to the drought crisis in the south we experienced a deep winter and heavy July rains both of which provided for a tall and thick hay crop. And although a good portion of the hay in northwestern Colorado was rained on in July it will still be adequate for cow hay. The dry and sunny weather this second week of August, on the other hand, bodes well for a hay harvest put up without any rain, and that will most likely cheer up any rancher spending his days in the cab of his tractor.
So, we hope the ability of hay producers in this area of Colorado to grow hay with such abundant water might in some small ways be helpful to all those in the south who have suffered so much from this natural disaster.
We wish all the farmers and ranchers in the south our very best for speedy recovery from this difficult crisis.
For more information on the drought crisis in Texas, got to: www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Farmers-around-state-canget-aid-1446460.php