Texans who had timely rains and the smarts to handle grass with care may get two cuttings of hay; they probably won’t need to buy it this year. Others, however, won't be as fortunate, says Larry Redmon, Texas AgriLife Extension forage specialist in College Station.
“It really depends on the management level of the property and whether it has received rain as to whether an individual made hay or has to buy it,” he says.
North and Southeast Texas, as well as around Houston and coastal areas, have had enough rain to produce hay. But in the High Plains, it’s been a tough year, he says. The same goes for Central Texas, West Texas and South Texas.
“Some of these areas look much like it was last year, so no matter how good of a manager you might have been, you just didn’t get the rain to make the hay,” Redmon says.
“I’m afraid, as we get closer to autumn, we will see more and more of those big 18-wheelers rolling into the state, but not nearly to the extent we saw last year,” he says. “There are people cutting hay, good hay and plenty of it, but they might not be nearly as interested in selling as they have in years past.”
Producers in the state will have hay to sell, but it won’t yield anything near normal, and won’t be enough to supply hay needs across the state.
“But it is much better than last year. As I drive across the state, I’m able to see hay bales sitting in the field. Last year, you could drive anywhere and not see bales of hay,” Redmon says.
Other areas have suffered through tremendous grasshopper infestations this year that have been just like a heavy grazing by cattle, he says.
“It has been a really tough year for areas of the state.”