East Texans face shortage of hay supply

East Texans face shortage of hay supply

EAST TEXAS, TX (KTRE) - The fluctuating weather this fall has affected many in East Texas.

Recent reports indicate across the region there is a shortage of hay.

Many farmers depend on it so their livestock survives the winter. It’s been a difficult year to produce hay.

“When you compound that with what happened this season with the drought in the early part of the season and then the rain in the later part of the season, it’s contributed to a significant shortage,” said Adam Jarvis, a hay producer with Jarvis Farm Equipment.

Jarvis said because of low production of hay in 2017, many relied on their reserves of hay. But the weather this year didn’t help to restock the reserves.

“It happened to me a couple of times. It happened to some people I know four or five times,” Jarvis said.

Army worms attacked and wiped out acres and acres of hay during the summer and early fall.

Texas Department of Agriculture said many hay producers in East Texas have battled army worms, early frosts, and rain, as a result, many are sold out.

“The remainder of the fall, it has been so wet, folks haven’t been able to get to the fields to harvest the hay to put up for it to feed livestock in the winter,” said Cary Sims, Texas A&M Agrilife County Extension Agent, Angelina County. The result is we are tremendously short in hay to get livestock through the winter here in East Texas."

He said on average, you need at least three to five hay bales for each cow. Sims said the limited supply will cause many ranchers and farmers to find alternative solutions.

“We can get hay, and the hay from 200 miles away or however far way, it may be the same price as hay normally is here, but the shipping cost, that’s what throwing us, that’s what is causing the tremendous increase and making it all the more difficult,” Sims said.

The Texas Department of Agriculture reports the current average price for a hay bale ranges anywhere from $90 to $100, compared to the usual $50 per bale.

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