Unlike their counterparts in other parts of the state, eastern Texas hay growers are anticipating a “decent” growing season in 2014, according to Aaron Low, Texas Agri-Life Extension ag agent in Cherokee County.

“We’re in full-swing production for ryegrass and clover hay right now, and the crops are looking pretty good for the most part,” says Low. “We’ve been blessed with some good rainfall in recent weeks. And as long as that keeps up, we should be okay once we start in harvesting our improved bermudagrass fields as well.”

Hay supplies in parts of the region were running low in recent weeks. “Because we had a cold winter that went on for so long, a lot of people were feeding up a lot more hay than usual.

“We were also shipping out hay to areas west and north of us where they’re under a severe drought. Livestock producers who planned ahead last fall and held back some hay for their own use are in pretty good shape. Those who sold a fair amount of their crop last year are running short now.”

Currently, large round bales of bermudagrass bring $100/ton, on average, while clover and ryegrass sell for around $80/ton. “That’s about the same as we were seeing a year ago,” says Low. “As long as we keep getting the rain, I’d look for them to stay pretty close to that level in the months ahead.”

Low can be reached at 903-683-5416 or arlow@ag.tamu.edu.