Plentiful rainfall in July has third-crop alfalfa coming on strong at Brandon Drinnon’s farm in northwestern Oklahoma.

“Between our first and second cuttings, we got just 1” of rain total, and we thought, ‘Here we go again,' " says Drinnon, referencing the drought conditions that hampered state growers in 2011 and 2012. “But between second and third cuttings, we had 7”, and the crop really came on. Some of the old timers here were saying it was one of the wettest Julys they can remember. It just goes to show that the Lord will bless what you put your hand to.”

Drinnon puts up alfalfa hay in 3 x 4 x 8’ and 4 x 4 x 8’ packages on 200 dryland acres near Taloga, OK. He sells most of his product to dairies in New Mexico and Texas. He also buys hay for resale from other growers in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

He was planning to start in on third-crop harvest the end of last week. “Usually, we’d be ready to get going on our fourth crop right about now. But we had all new seeding this year, so we let it go a little longer before doing our first cutting.”

Even with the slow start, Drinnon expects yields to surpass his average of 4 tons/acre this year. “For our first and second cuttings, it was about 2.5 tons/acre. That was a little on the low side for us.“

“But with the rains we’ve had, third crop is looking excellent. We should get 1-1.5 tons/acre. And then we’ll still have fourth and maybe even a fifth cutting to go.”

Currently, premium alfalfa hay in the region is selling for $215-230/ton at the edge of the field. That’s down $20-30/ton from year-ago levels. “Last year at this time, the availability of hay was lower, too,” he notes. “I don’t really look for the hay price to go much higher this year. The corn price has been dipping, and dairies are very good about changing their rations to keep the rations as cheap as they can. I don’t think they’ll need as much hay this winter as they have in the past.”

To contact Drinnon, call 580-334-8960 or email drinnonhay@hotmail.com.

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