It's a tale of two extremes in some parts of the country as some ranchers are unable to make hay because of the drought, while others can't because of too much rain.
Last year’s drought, coupled with an extremely long and harsh winter, has depleted our hay supply. Luckily, we have received a steady amount of moisture so far this summer, and in between patches of rainstorms, we are busy making hay.
With summer in full swing and the grass growing green, we’ve been baling hay -- both round and square bales. My weekend was spent riding on the bale rack with my sister, stacking squares. It’s a hot, tedious, back-aching job, but we make it better by listening to music on our iPods and wearing cut-off t-shirts in the hopes of working on our tan.
Needless to say, the dust, alfalfa, heat and mosquitoes make baling hay -- particularly square bales -- one of my least favorite jobs on the ranch. But it feels good knowing that we’ve got our first cutting done, and hopefully will get one or two more -- pending more rain, of course -- before the summer is over.
While the drought rages on in the Southern Plains and Texas, some producers in South Dakota and Minnesota are having the opposite problem.
According to WXOW (Wabasha, MN), “The saturated ground and continuous showers are leaving alfalfa farmers in a tough spot. But those trying to make the most of it are finding issues in government regulations.
"This spring has been unusual in many regards," says John McRae, executive director of Wabasha County's Farm Service Agency. "Wabasha County is one of the top 10 in the state and we probably lost 50-70% depending on the area.”
The news report says Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is pressing the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to take action to help alleviate the shortfalls of feed for livestock. In a statement released by his office, Franken says he's "pushing to waive a prohibition that prevents farmers from planting hay on prevented-planting acres.”
My thoughts and prayers are certainly with those who continue to suffer from the drought. While we deal with muddy lots and baling between shots of rain, others are facing a crisis of having to buy very expensive hay and/or sell off more cows as supplies run out.
How are things in your neck of the woods? Have you been able to put up much hay this summer? Are you worried about your hay supply?
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