A short supply of hay and an increased demand in drought areas have many livestock producers experiencing sticker shock.
Peter Robinson, University of California–Davis Extension specialist, says that in California, where the drought has been prolonged for several years, producers are getting used to having to pay more for hay.
“When there is less water available, growers change to crops that have less need for water. The first one that gets hurt is cotton. Alfalfa, on the other hand, which is a big hay crop here and worth a lot right now, is not affected as much,” he says. “We haven’t lost very many acres of alfalfa over the past couple years, but the high price is being driven by a number of things, including the fact we are exporting a lot of alfalfa to other countries.”
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