On Thursday, the USDA hay report said the drought conditions have led to “virtually” no hay available in Missouri. Interim president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association Brent Haden says the situation is made worse by what happened last year.
Haden says, “The crisis last year, to the southwest of us in Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle, took a fair amount of hay out of the southern and western part of the state – because it got so hot there people were shipping it west – our hay reserves are low. We didn’t grow a lot this year and there’s just not enough grass to go around as there should be.”
Haden tells Brownfield we’re going to continue to see more cattle heading to market with these high prices while Missouri’s herd shrinks with that of the rest of the nation to the lowest levels in 60 years.
“I would expect to see that trend continue,” says Haden, “When it’s hard to feed them at home and the prices are that high in town – there’s a lot of cows that are gonna go to town.”
Haden says cattle producers are doing everything they can to scramble for hay and paying the higher prices for it. He says, “When people are out of hay the options are pay a mint for it locally or pay a mint for it out-of-state. There’s just nowhere close, certainly, that you can get cheap hay right now.”
He says Governor Nixon’s work on trying to get CRP acres released in Missouri could help some – because, in Haden’s words – some hay is better than no hay.