Mild late winter-early spring weather has led to good early growth on 200 acres of alfalfa and 100 acres of grass on Robert Rinkenberger’s farm near Morris, MN. Even so, he’s not overconfident about prospects for the growing season ahead.

“We’re very, very dry. If we don’t get some rain pretty soon, the good times may not last long,” says Rinkenberger, who packages most of his hay in 3 x 3 x 8’ square bales for the dairy market. He also makes 6,000-8,000 small square bales for long-time horse-owning customers and custom mows and bales for other farms in his area.

Along with the weather, Rinkenberger says rising input costs are cause for concern. “It’s kind of a double whammy all the way around right now,” he says. “The cost of fertilizer, twine and fuel are all going up. That should mean hay prices will hold up there.

“But with milk prices dropping off, I don’t see how the guys in the dairy business can afford to keep paying for high-priced hay. Their other input costs are going up, too. Something will have to give somewhere along the line. We could be in for a pretty interesting year.”

To contact Rinkenberger, call 320-589-2005 or 320-815-5955.