UK economist says hay shortage could develop this fall, winter

A livestock economist says the drought in the Great Plains and Western U.S. could create a tighter hay market. 

University of Kentucky’s Kenny Burdine says, “I think it’s very likely that hay is in much shorter supply in a lot of areas as we think about the coming winter, granted, we are still six months away from.”

He tells Brownfield hay production has already been impacted. “I hear folks in other parts of the U.S. talking about folks (who) are feeding hay early, which makes sense. I hear folks talk about dry weather, which is going to impact production this year,” Burdine says. “I also think we have to remember that fertilizer prices are so high right now that I really do think that people are going to spend less on fertilizer than they usually do on hay ground.”

Burdine says producers should include hay in their risk management plan. “Hay markets are very localized because hay is so expensive to transport, but I think it’s the kind of year that you want be thinking well ahead about your winter hay needs because I think if you’re scrambling to find hay come October or November, it could become ugly.”

Burdine was a panelist on Brownfield’s latest roundtable discussion about the 2022 Drought in the Great Plains.

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