AmericanFarm.com

Hay supplies down on cusp of winter feeding

By JANE W. GRAHAM
AFP Correspondent

DUBLIN, Va. (Sept. 16) — Abundant rains in this once very dry Pulaski County community have caused hay equipment to be pulled out and harvesting to ramp up to top speed for a second cutting most folks did not think would be possible this year here.
This is not the case across the state as Brett Richardson, a marketing specialist for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Market News, reports.
“Hay supplies are relatively low right now following dry conditions throughout the summer in much of Virginia,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The recent rainfall will probably not help the situation as it arrived too late to make much of a difference for this year’s crop.  Most growers will only make one more cutting of hay.”
Richardson notes that hay supplies in the Shenandoah Valley appear to be down. 
“Tom Weaver from the Rushville Hay Auction reports that he is receiving approximately 10 to 15 fewer loads per auction than is typical for this time of year,” Richardson continued. “Southwest Virginia had rainfall during the last month and after being in moderate drought for most of the spring and summer, southwest Virginia may be in better shape than other areas now.”
One small farmer in this area with a 25 acre hay field that is mowed for hay to be sold each summer reported that she usually has trouble selling her hay in the winter.  She said this summer she has been besieged with potential customers needing hay for summer feeding because they did not have grass.  She said she had had calls for as many as 200 bales from one person.
Here in Pulaski County, the National Weather Service noted that Pulaski County was the driest county in the state at one point during the summer.  Since then the rains the farming community prayed for have come and turned things around for many.
Most livestock producers would probably agree that renewed pastures and the opportunity to stockpile grasses for late fall and winter pastures area among the biggest benefits of the welcome rains.
The rain has also given late planted corn and soybeans the boosts they needed just when they needed it to make a crop.
VDACS has its annual Hay Clearinghouse Newsletter to connect people with hay to sell with those who need to buy.