Archive for Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Livestock producers forced to fork out more money

Drought, tight feed suppplies causing some ranchers to bail out

January 16, 2007


Hay shortage

A local cattle farmer discusses the implications of a possible hay shortage. Enlarge video

Hay has become a hot commodity for area farmers.

A drought the past few years in much of the Midwest and parts of Kansas has caused a hay shortage, said Bill Wood, Douglas County agriculture extension agent.

Wood said he had heard that a roll of hay sold for $90 in the Ottawa area recently. The same type of hay bale has sold for as low as $20, he said.

"The shortage made a high demand for hay this year," he said.

The hay is used not only to feed cattle, especially in the winter, but also to feed horses and sheep, Wood said.

Lawrence cattleman Stan Larson has been paying close attention to his hay supply, which feeds 65 head of cattle.

Stan Larson, who lives west of Lawrence, thinks he has plenty of hay for the winter, but supplies are tight. On Monday he was feeding some of his Herefords and caring for a calf that was 1 day old.

Stan Larson, who lives west of Lawrence, thinks he has plenty of hay for the winter, but supplies are tight. On Monday he was feeding some of his Herefords and caring for a calf that was 1 day old.

"I'm concerned that I have just about more cattle than I have hay, but so far I'm getting along fine," Larson said.

Drought is the main cause of the shortage, but the snowstorms haven't helped, said Todd Domer, vice president of communications for the Kansas Livestock Association.

"We didn't lose any hay in those snowstorms," he said. "There may be some hay the (cattle) producers can't get to because it's covered up by snow, but the hay supplies are not that much different than it was coming out of the summer."

If severe winter storms continue in western Kansas and spread to the east, the hay supply situation could worsen, Domer said.

Larson said he started the winter season with 300 1,000-pound bales of hay for his cattle. He had 20 bales left over from last winter.

"I calculated what I needed, and I was pretty conservative," Larson said of his hay supply. "I had an inquiry just last evening from someone wanting to make a purchase, and I couldn't help them. I just don't have any to spare."

Stan Larson, who lives west of Lawrence, thinks he has plenty of hay for the winter despite a shortage. Larson fed some of his Herefords on Monday and cared for one calf that was only a day old.

Stan Larson, who lives west of Lawrence, thinks he has plenty of hay for the winter despite a shortage. Larson fed some of his Herefords on Monday and cared for one calf that was only a day old.

Other cattlemen haven't had the food supply, forcing them to sell some of their cows, said Rob Gloss, owner of Overbrook Livestock Commission, which has sales every Monday in Overbrook.

"The whole state is affected," Gloss said. "I can't find any extra hay, and when you do find it, it is very expensive."

While hay prices have risen, cattle prices have declined. A year ago, the price of a cow ranged from $51 to $58 per hundredweight, Domer said. This year, the range has been $46 to $52, he said.

"That's not a real dramatic decline in prices, although it is somewhat lower," Domer said.

Other states, including Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado, have had hay shortages during the past few years.

Other factors contributing to high hay prices include a demand for corn from ethanol producers, preventing farmers from supplementing their hay feed with corn without paying more.


budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

Many farmers used to grow thier own hay, now they try to buy it from another farmer who doesnt have cows they just grow hay cause of the money. Now a shortage will make the money even better

GonetotheDogs 11 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately, they(LJW) did not get the whole truth- a BIG reason that the hay is so expensive and hard to find, is because of GREED! For several years now, this area has had the opportunity to sell to areas to our west and south, and last year to our east as well because those areas had such extreme shortage (mainly due to weather), but had been done so in small, moderate amounts. This year, many of the hay farmers figured that if they got the $$$ early from those areas, they would be set in the bank, however they also didn't take into consideration their usual customers. Now a lot of people that can't grow enough of their own to support their livestock are stuck scrambling. At the beginning of the season this year, when you would normally see bales in the fields up for sale, this year instead, you saw big truck after big truck headed down the interstate.

introversion 11 years, 4 months ago

Are "Suppplies" more expensive than regular supplies?

staff04 11 years, 4 months ago

"Other factors contributing to high hay prices include a demand for corn from ethanol producers..."

This is something that has always concerned me about making ethanol from corn. It seems that we have taken what was once a food commodity and turned it into an energy commodity without considering what effect such action might have on the food market.

everydayangel 11 years, 4 months ago

My son is in 8th grade. He would have caught that typo. My 4th grader would have caught that! So maybe 1st or 2nd grade editing team? LOL

everydayangel 11 years, 4 months ago

It's been quite some time since we've gotten any beef because the prices are so high. Our family is slowly becoming vegetarian. We came from Southwestern Kansas and used to get halves of beef every 6 months or so. We would pay the market value of it which was about $1.50 +/- per pound. Then we would see T-bone steaks in the grocery store for $8 and $9 a pound. It's crazy the mark up the grocery stores put on the meat. And the cuts are just nasty. A lot of people would lose their teeth if they saw the difference between a really good cut of meat, and what they sell in the stores. I refuse to pay that much for beef when I know what the grocery stores are paying for it. Plus all the hormones, and antibiotics in it, it's just gross.

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

Farming has also fallen to corporate world

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

let me ask you something, do you think a cow likes hay, straw, or grass better?

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

A horse is a horse of course but a cow can be a great source of milk

Feverpitch 11 years, 4 months ago

Straw!? Cows don't eat straw! Straw is just a bedding material...warmth! Nobody eats straw.

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

Actualy straw is a very versatile material. One can even use it when drinking cold beverages

institches 11 years, 4 months ago

the reason there is a hay shortage is because of the miserable summer. No rain, no hay. Hay was in high demand even before the cold set in. Greed nothing., gon etothe dogs.. Ask any farmer who is tilling his ground or a neigbors, if he is rich... he'll tell ya that maybe his soil is.So you have a sixty thousand dollar car you drive on weekends. We're real impressed. We have quarter of a million dollar combines that we use two weeks a year. That is why we farmers help each other out. Nobody can afford all the equipment. Go Figure.

farmgal 11 years, 4 months ago

GonetotheDogs hit the nail on the head. All the locals who have been good paying customers for years have been left high & dry, all for the almighty dollar. Sad but true. It's put a real hardship on many people. I don't think we'll ever see reasonable hay prices again unless we start getting better rainfall thru/out the year.

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

I am alone in the corner sorting my ideas and collecting my thoughts. Raising cattle has gone to the dogs. We have alot more farm dogs working the land.

I support our farmers. The lack of good pay, long hours, and hard work keep us from starving. I wonder if hay could be an import / export comodity

GonetotheDogs 11 years, 4 months ago

institches- as I was trying to point out, they sold it before it was available in the pasture to the locals. Yes, we did have a lower rain amount, but we DID have quite a bit of hay. Plenty for everybody in the area, plus some to sell south. Unfortunately, most everybody decided to sell it south BEFORE allowing the locals to get some. We were trying from before the first cutting (hoping there might be more) to get some lined up or to have someone bale ours, and most everybody was arranging to sell it out of state. That is why the cost is up so high. Because those of us that care about our animals realize that we don't have a choice, sometimes you just have to do it. Thankfully, there are still a few decent people around here that are willing to remember who does support them every year. There are some of us that have long memories, and when those that sold out can't sell their hay elsewhere, it will sit there until it degrades! I am very impressed that you found such an original quote, but in my book, if you're helping each other out, why didn't very many farmers have enough hay??? Maybe it's because there getting greedy? We have had worse summers on record, and there was never this big of a problem that I can remember in getting hay.

farmgal 11 years, 4 months ago

Pastures were deep & lush and hayfields were high in June. There was plenty of grass to cut for hay. By late July, into to Aug. not so good. There was plenty of hay. So far , I'm not caving into the high prices. I am rationing my cattle's portions & increasing their grain instead. I always feed my cattle well. Not so this year. Hay prices are too high; they will have to get by as best they can. They've lost a little weight, but are still healthy. If the weather turns back to a mild winter, we'll be alright.

GonetotheDogs 11 years, 4 months ago

Same thing here. We have horses at our place and both cattle and horses at a family member's place south of here. It has come down to a lot of conservative rationing of the hay, increasing the grain intake, and adding plenty of beet pulp and some bagged hay. With the super low temps, they burn through it much faster than if it was warm. As much as we need the cold for the pests, we almost can't afford it with the hay issues.

speedykitty 11 years, 4 months ago

With fires and drought in TX and OK, they needed hay much earlier.

If it weren't so typical of the misinformation that farmers have to put up with, this thread of messages would be amusing.

It's odd how people think farm products should not increase in price, while all of the inputs such as fertilizer, fuels, equipment escalate in cost.

Remember, farmers are generally the only businessmen who buy retail, sell wholesale and pay the freight both ways!

GonetotheDogs 11 years, 4 months ago

I am not complaining about the cost going up, but going from $20-$25 in a year is normal- going from $25-$90 in one year is not. What is the misinformation? Them selling south and west? Did you not make a trip on the interstate this summer or fall? You never saw truckload after truckload of hay going south? Just ask- even the guy that has cut ours for us said that he sold most of his south to make some good$$$. Another guy that we frequently get hay from had to quit selling to new customers this year, as he found out that they were buying his hay at the original prices, and taking large loads of it south. I am definitely not against buying something cheap and making a profit. If some fool wants to pay 4x the amount to be able to puff his chest that he got one of the first new games out on the market, then let the fool pay. But when you start screwing with the food chain to make a buck, then there are people that lose out besides the fool.

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