Despite Rain, Second Hay Cutting Creates Concerns

Published 06/05 2014 03:36PM

Updated 06/05 2014 07:32PM

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. -- Rain totals have inched up over the past month, but local hay farmers say it is not enough.

Hay farmers are struggling, despite the recent rain.  May's spotty rain may  have helped some farmers, but many farmers are coming up short. 

"It has where they got it, but we haven't gotten it right in this area," says cattle and hay farmer, James Taylor, with Taylor Farm (Triple T Farm) in Fair Grove.

"We missed out on some early rain this year," explains cattle and  hay farmer Terry Taylor. 

Rain was in limited supply across the Ozarks in  the months of January through April.  That kept the hay crop at a poor quality and low yield. 

"Our first hay cutting is running about half this  year compared to last year," says James Taylor.

It is not looking much better for the second hay cutting, which usually takes place mid July.

"It's the driest I've about ever seen!  I'm not expecting very much if it don't rain," says James Taylor.

Triple T farm workers say they typically  yield about 700 bales of hay from a second cutting on a rainy year.  However, this year they are only expecting about 500 bales of hay.  Additionally, the Taylors say they yield 2500 bales of hay over the whole year, but this year they are only expecting about 1200 bales.

Hay farmers are relying on the rain now through mid June.  Otherwise, their livelihood will suffer. 

 "A low income is what it'll be," says James Taylor.  At Taylor farm, hay is used to feed cattle  instead of sell.  "The cattle won't do as good...won't have as heavy a crop," explains James Taylor.

The Taylors say their local hay farmer  friends are in the same position. 

"They're saying their hay is short too,"  says James Taylor.

Hay farmers are happy to see the rain chances in the forecast now, but come mid July, they will reverse their request to mother nature.  They will ask for a few dry days so they can cut the hay.

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