The high cost of corn, which has doubled in the last 16 months, is a well-publicized problem for cattle feeders.
The sun has been shining in Iowa, but the state’s farmers haven’t made enough hay.
A drop in hay acres by as much as 20%, by farmers intent in cashing in on high corn prices, has left hay supplies tight. Prices have increased 30% above last year and left cattle producers annoyed and in no mood to expand their herds.
If cattle producers don’t expand their herds above what is a 50-year low in the U.S., consumers can expect high beef prices into the foreseeable future.
The Iowa hay supply was eroded further this summer and fall as some Iowa hay has been bought to ship to hard-pressed ranchers in Texas and Oklahoma, hit by drought that parched grazing fields.