As we reported in last week’s eHay Weekly, rains earlier this month brought relief to many Texas hay growers and livestock producers who struggled with an extended period of dry weather earlier in the season. Even so, producers in some areas aren’t out of the woods when it comes to hay supplies.

“It’s been pretty hit and miss on the rains throughout East Texas,” says Chad Gulley, Texas AgriLife Extension agent in Nacogdoches County. “In some parts of our county, people got 4-6” of rain in late June-early July. In other areas, people only got 1.5-2”. Some people are cutting hay and reporting pretty good yields. But for others, the yields have been pretty light. Some people are reporting that they’re only getting one-quarter to one-half of what they should be getting.”

Severe infestations of grasshoppers and armyworms have compounded problems for many producers. “People who have been here a long time tell me this one of the worst outbreaks of grasshoppers they’ve ever seen,” says Gulley. “And the armyworms got here early. Usually, we don’t see them until late July or August. But we’ve had them for three or four weeks now. It’s been tough for people trying to conserve what hay they do have.”

Gulley says it’s still too early to forecast how the overall hay supply situation in East Texas will play out in 2010. “We’ve been getting some calls from people who are looking for hay and trying to put together some price information,” he says. “We went through a cold winter and a lot of people fed up the hay they had on hand. We also had a late spring, so people couldn’t get out on pasture right away. When they got their first hay cutting, they had to feed it up.

“On the other hand, a lot of producers are optimistic that things will turn around and that they’ll be able to get a good third cutting to see them through.”

To contact Gulley, phone 936-560-7711 or e-mail c-gulley@tamu.edu.