Hay shortage hurts cattle and dairy farmers - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Hay shortage hurts cattle and dairy farmers

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than half of Minnesota's pasture land is in "poor" or "very poor" condition creating a shortage of hay.

Borst Family Farms in Rochester usually cuts more than 300 acres of hay to support the family business, but after last year's winter, they're down to just 100 acres.

"The hay was actually not too bad but what hurt so much was the winter kill from last year," said Matt Borst.  "We had to plow up what was too damaged to keep from the winter."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 19 percent of the state's pasture land is in "good condition."  Like many farmers across the state, Borst is having to adjust by chopping 40 percent more silage than year's past.

"With the short hay supply we'll be using more corn silage in our rations to make up for the shortage, plus we're buying some dry hay," said Borst.

The dry hay and silage will be enough for Borst's farm to get through the winter, but he says he'll have to supplement the feed with protein which will cost him. Each cow in his herd of more than 250 can eat up to 5 tons of hay during the winter.

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