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Are You Worried About Your Hay Supply?

Are You Worried About Your Hay Supply?

Whether it’s snagging a new pair of jeans climbing over the barbed-wire fence, discovering a leak in your rubber boots during the spring thaw, or realizing the cattle are out because you left the gate open, we all experience regular frustrations in our lives. Letting off some steam and forgetting about our troubles is something we all need on occasion.

That’s where our BEEF cartoons [3] come in. From reader favorites like “Earl” [4] by Wally Badgett and Holmes and Fletcher Classic Cartoons [5], flipping through these funnies is a great way to forget about that big feed bill, the tractor that needs fixing, or the threat of an ongoing drought that is looming.

One of my favorite cartoonists, Leigh Rubin, who creates the “Rubes” sketches that appear regularly in the print edition of BEEF magazine and on our website, was recently featured on a Sacramento morning television show, and he mentioned [6] BEEF magazine on air. Take a look at his BEEF gallery [7] and see if Rubin’s gags don’t lift your spirits.

Over the weekend, I was the keynote speaker at North Central Cattlemen’s Association’s 46th Annual Banquet in Aberdeen, SD. While visiting with the ranchers in attendance, it seemed like many were in positive spirits. Bull sales are high, calving season seems to be going well for many, and the snow we received last week was much-needed and appreciated.

However, we’re hardly out of the woods where the drought [8] is concerned. While the ranchers I talked with were pretty optimistic, there are some very real concerns out there about the drought and what it means for the price and availability of hay.

As reported [9] by The Dakotan, “According to USDA’s annual crop production reports, U.S. production of all dry hay in 2012 was estimated at 120 million tons, down 9% from 2011 and the lowest production level since 1964. South Dakota produced 4 million tons last year, a decrease of 53% compared to the previous year. As of Dec. 1, 2012, all hay stored on U.S. farms totaled 76.5 million tons, down 16% from the year before and the lowest level since 1957. South Dakota’s hay stocks sat at 4.3 million, a decrease of 49% compared to the same time in 2011.”

Some are predicting hay prices [10] will go up to $300/ton.

How about you? Are you concerned about your hay supply? What is the cost of hay in your neck of the woods?