Shortage of Hay Causing Problems for Area Farmers, Feed Stores

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Monday night's rain was nice but it did little to end the drought. Local farmers and feed stores are dealing with a big shortage of hay.

The livelihood of many farmers depends on producing a good product. To produce that product, water is needed and with the current drought local farmers are feeling a strain.

Jody Schumann says the prices of hay have gone up due to the low supply and great demand.

"Corn, wheat anything that requires moisture to grow when there is no rain to make it grow, it's gonna go up because of the low supply and demand" Schumann said.

But they aren't the only ones feeling the pinch, local feed stores are also hurting. Some stores have gone months without hay.

"I would tell you that we probably went five months without any hay here. Once because we couldn't find it, and two when we did, it was such a low quality that it wouldn't have done the animals any good, or it was too high, and so we couldn't afford it" Thomas Marshall, with the Pony Express Feed Store, said.

Schumann says, this has been the worst drought he can remember that has impacted his crops.

"The older guys that come here and remember the drought of the 50's, they say this is way worse than that and it's not as bad as the Dust Bowl days of the 20's. Who know what's gonna happen" Schumann said.

We might be seeing some rain, but according to Schumann, a lot more is needed to irrigate these crops.

"We are doing a lot of minimum till and no till. That's a procedure where you try to plant cover crop in the winter. We planted wheat and the snow we had last winter were great for that wheat it grew and we terminate that crop by spraying it, killing it and that leaves it on the ground. The idea is the moisture stays on the ground, it doesn't evaporate as rapidly" Schumann said.

Marshall says at times they have to travel out of state to buy bales of hay and with the high prices of hay, it's hard to make ends meet.

"A lot of it has to do with the fact the we have to go as far north as Montana and Wyoming to get hay and so by the time you get the truck back here, you got so much money in fuel to get there and get back. It's really hurting people" Marshall said.

Unless we see rain in the near future, Marshall is predicting another slow year.

"We are gonna do our best to keep it, but like I said unless we can continue to get more days like this when it's raining, it's gonna be another rough year on us," Marshall said.