Lack of rain leaves hay crops hurting

Lack of rain leaves hay crops hurting

We've had some rain this week, but it hasn't been enough to help out farmers hoping for a big hay crop.

Richard Lee is a farmer and has been one nearly all his life. It's what he loves to do but he says farming is getting more difficult. "Farm machinery is high, parts, labor, and everything. It's really hard on a farmer right now," he said.

He's not only fighting high prices, but unpredictable weather, and this year hasn't been the best for his hay crop. "I have seen it worse at times but not a whole season. We'll just have to wait and see what happens," he said.

Lee says most farmers like him are only getting about half the hay crop they did last year.

He says the large crop last year is helping him survive. "I've got enough in the barn to do me an extra winter. I'm lucky in that case you know I've got enough to do me," Lee said.

Other farmers may face a hard decision and be forced to sell cattle to make up for a thin crop.

Sullivan County Extension Agent Chris Ramsey says that has long-term effects. "Because they are at record levels people don't want to save heifers they want to sell those cattle to capture that good market price," he said.

So that leaves farmers having to raise calves, which could take up to 40 months before they are a producing cow in the herd.

What's to blame for the lagging hay crop besides no rain, "We had a very cold winter probably one of the longest feeding seasons that people can remember in a long time so we did have a good hay crop last year we fed a lot of that hay," adds Ramsey.

Lee says he's now looking to the sky with hope, "I just leave it up to The Lord he'll give me some rain maybe and everything will work out fine."

Lee says in September farmers will know where they stand with their hay crops and if they'll have to sell any cattle.

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