Area farmers feel effects of rising hay costs due to shortage - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Area farmers feel effects of rising hay costs due to shortage

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As winter continues to drag on in the upper Midwest, the cold isn't just affecting people's moods.

It's also hurting pocket books as farmers in the area are seeing a shortage in hay.

The dwindling supply of hay and growing cost to buy that hay is putting some farmers in a bit of a pinch.

"Feed is our number one cost in beef production and the number one ingredient in our ration is hay," said cattle farmer Dan Miller.

The shortage of hay and the rising cost to purchase it, is putting many farmers in a tight spot.

Miller is also a Farm Business Management Instructor at Riverland Community College and claims the cost of hay has gone up about 50 percent since the beginning of the year.

Mother Nature's never-ending winter weather is playing a key role but Miller says there's more to it.

"Hay acres have been down because the price of hay actually has been declining in the last few years," said Miller. "So less incentive to raise hay."

At recent hay auctions in Canton and Fort Atkinson, Iowa, Miller noticed hay selling at a value of 30 to 40 percent higher than at the first of the year.

So what does one of those large round bales cost?

"Well if hay is $200 a ton, and that's about what some of the local auctions have been indicating," said Miller. "This bale weights 1,500 pounds, which is three-fourths of a ton. So at $200 a ton of hay, and this is three-fourths of a ton, about $150 dollars a bale; for this bale here at three-quarters of a ton."

The reduced availability and rising cost of hay is hurting farmers because hay is a primary ingredient for cattle feed in southeast Minnesota.

As the cost of hay continues to rise, Miller is optimistic.

"I think it's going to increase the seeding of alfalfa in the next few weeks to respond to that increase in price," said Miller.

But he also has some doubts.

"It is a little bit of a negative for those folks that didn't have enough hay and due to the extension of the winter weather, are going to be short . And that's really what's driving it up," said Miller. "Hopefully it's short lived, but it's significant for a person if they're in that position."

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