After dealing with severe droughts in 2011 and 2012, forage growers in McLennan County, TX, finally had a great fall for growing hay, says Shane McLellan, Texas Agri-Life Extension ag agent.

Substantial rainfall was the key. “We started getting some good rain in July (5.5” for the month in some parts of the county),” he says. “It turned off in August, but then started back up in September. And it kept up in October and November.”

Many growers ended the fall with good final cuttings of bermudagrass and other warm-season grass hay. “Some of the bermudagrass hasn’t been responding like it should given the kind of moisture and fertility we’ve seen. But that might be a carryover from the drought in the last couple of years. The root system for a lot of plants was weakened.”

Even with improved production, local hay prices are still a “little inflated,” says McLellan. “We were getting the rain no one else was getting, so some of what’s been put up here is being shipped out to other areas. Overall, though, there should be enough hay on hand to meet local demand.”

In the area, 5 x 6’ large rounds of Coastal bermudagrass have been bringing $75/roll. Prices for large rounds of ryegrass from last spring averaged $50-60/roll. “That’s if you can find it,” he says. “A lot of it is already gone.”

To contact McLellan, call 254-757-5180 or email s-mclellan@tamu.edu.

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