Summer rain abundance has local farmers seeing an increase in hay production

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Although prices are going down for hay bails, farmers are able to have more cattle per unit of land.

With this spring and summer’s heavy rainfall, farmers are seeing an uptick in hay production.

Steve Stamate/University of Missouri Extension SW Research Center Farm Manager

“There’s been tremendous production and then the re-growth afterwards has been tremendous,” explained Steve Stamate, the farm manager fo the Southwest Research Center. “We got a lot of pasture afterwards cutting hay and a lot of hay. We’ve done more hay in the past as far as total bales, but we probably did twice or more of what we normally do.”

The Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon alone has cut 299 bails of hay.

Because Southwest Missouri was in a drought last year, bails were worth $60, but this year they are worth $30. Although market price has gone down, there’s plenty left over for feed in the winter.

“There were no reserves left. People had used up all their hay. It was just very few people who had any hay left,” Stamate continued. “Last year, I had to buy silage–I didn’t even have hay. I had to buy corn silage to feed my own cattle and this year, there’s just hay everywhere.”

According to the University of Missouri Extension Livestock Field Specialist, Eldon Cole, it has been a good grazing summer for cattle.

“Well, most of the farmers are smiling this year,” said Cole. “There’s nothing more depressing than a dry year and yes, this spring we were a little short on pasture because of the late spring, but boy, once the rain started coming, we ended up getting a bountiful amount of pasture for them to graze.”

And with an abundance of pasture, cattle farmers can take advantage of it.

“If they are managing the pasture well, which is what we emphasize are good management practices, they should be able to be running several more animals per unit of land than in the past,” Cole explained.

Eldon says that although pasture has been abundant, outside factors such as foreign trade and local economics could affect cattle market prices in the fall.

If anyone has any questions about hay or livestock call your local University of Missouri Extension and a field specialist will be able to help.

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