Bales of Hay are High and Hard to Find - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

03/06/07 - East Texas

Bales of Hay are High and Hard to Find

During a drought, harvesting enough hay is almost impossible, and supplies are scarce. (KTRE News Photo) During a drought, harvesting enough hay is almost impossible, and supplies are scarce. (KTRE News Photo)

by Ramonica R. Jones

Texas cattle ranchers and livestock owners grow and bale as much hay as possible during the summer to get their animals through the cold winter months. But during a drought, harvesting enough hay is almost impossible. When hay is hard to find, there are three main options available.

Angelina County Extension Agent Cary Sims said, "We can either buy more hay, we can sell off some of our livestock or we can take that hay that we do have and supplement it with grains or find ways to extend the volume of hay available."

With a bale of hay now costing double what it did before the drought, some livestock owners are choosing to not feed their animals at all.

"There's no excuse for any other options," Sims said. "The other option would be not to care for your livestock and that's not excusable."

Animals sold off from East Texas herds are being sent to places where there is an ample supply of feed.

"There are folks that have grass [and] cheap grain available, and there's always a place for them to go. It may not be next door. They may go out to Central Texas or up north to Oklahoma or south on the coast, but there will be a place and there will be somebody there to feed them and take care of them."

The nationwide market for cattle and livestock remains strong. There are weekly auctions in places like Nacogdoches and Crockett and all animals taken there are being sold.

On average a bale of hay is around $40, but with the drought, a bale is now averaging between $60 and $80.

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