In spite of USDA figures showing an increase in hay production, finding quality hay may be a bit of a challenge in some parts of the country this fall and winter, says Don Kieffer, executive director of the National Hay Association. "Supplies might be tight in some areas, but hay is still out there," he says. "The problem is, it might be the wrong kind of hay in the wrong spots. For the last four years, we were shipping hay into Texas because Texas had a four-year drought. Now Texas has plenty of hay, but much of it is in round bales that are hard to competitively transport into some of the areas where hay is needed." He's been getting calls from the hard-hit Southeast, particularly North and South Carolina.

When USDA released planting intentions earlier this year, many people expected hay acres would be lost as more corn and soybean fields were planted. But hay acres actually increased. "The extreme drought in the southern U.S. is having an impact on the amount of hay produced and on hay availability," says Kieffer.

Contact Kieffer at 727-367-9702.