"We are very dry here in Ohio," reports Mark Sulc, Ohio State University extension forage specialist. "Our first- and second-cutting hay yields have been well below average and many livestock producers are exploring how to supplement their hay stocks because supplies are and will be low probably until first cutting in 2008." Many are either planting or making plans to plant alternative forages like warm-season annual grasses or oats after wheat grain harvest. "I have heard of producers who interseeded weaker stands of alfalfa with sorghum-sudangrass after first cutting to boost production," he states. "I'm sure we will have producers planting cereal grain mixtures after corn silage or even soybean harvest this year."
Contact Sulc at 614-292-9084. Visit the Ohio State University forage Web site at forages.osu.edu.
Calls for hay are coming in fast and furious, says Greg Wright of Wright Farms Haymakers, Inc., Dresden, TN. "Our area had half the yield this year with the late killing frost, and then the drought came along," he states. "What little rain we have gotten is too little too late. We will have to reseed everything we have for next year's crop. The drought has stunned us. We normally do an average of 30,000 square bales and 2,500 round bales. This year we will be lucky if we can get half of that."
Wright expects it'll take two to three years to recover. He's shipping hay as fast as he can produce it, which means his barns will go into the fall empty. "I truck hay to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and South Carolina and everywhere I go when I talk to people there is no hay and the prices are going through the roof," he says.
Call Wright at 731-822-5075 or 731-882-9318.