Weather's impact on hay production

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(KMVT/KSVT) - As the weather has been a little cooler for late spring, a forager specialist says it has impacted hay crops in southern Idaho.

"Right now, with a full stable, we're buying hay about every three weeks," said Rick Ruby, a partner with Fuller Training Stables.

He said they have 24 horses on their property.

"$170 a ton," he said, of how much they're paying for hay for the horses.

Ruby said they've been paying that same price for at least the last year.

"We were informed by the supplier that it'll go up to $180 a ton on our next delivery in three weeks," he said.

Glenn Shewmaker, a forage specialist and professor with the University of Idaho said it's been another unusual year for hay production.

"There's been this delay in harvest. It allowed for a little higher yield, but it'll be a lower quality alfalfa," Shewmaker said

As the temperature continues to climb, the category of the quality of hay could change.

"It's going out of dairy quality hay into feeder quality hay, so that's a major price difference," he said.

Shewmaker said dairy quality hay could cost more than $200 a ton.

"Feeder quality hay, it should be substantially lower. It should be maybe $50 less per ton," he said.

An increase in price in any way is a hit to Ruby.

"We're not really happy about that. Of course, if it continues to escalate then we're going to have to continue the prices for our boarding fees out here," he said.

"Agriculture in general is not doing well, it's pretty bad," Shewmaker said. "They are stressed economically and so are the hay producers. It's tough all the way around."

Shewmaker said in Idaho, there is 1.2 million acres of alfalfa hay.

"We are producing more hay in Idaho than California now," he said.



 
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