It was a tough finish to the hay production year due to dry conditions, says Jon Garnett, Garnett Farms, Spearman, TX. "The start of the year was pretty good because we had a lot of rain," he explains. "It got hot and dry in July, and then we didn't have very much rain at the end of the year." Garnett Farms is at the top of the Texas Panhandle.
Alfalfa supplies are good in Garnett's area, but supplies of beef-cow hay are low. "We have good alfalfa supplies right now, but I have most of it contracted, so I am not doing many outside sales," he notes. Garnett sells to several large Texas ranches, delivering the hay with his own trucks. "Our conditions are so dry that we don't have much wheat, but we do have quite a bit of grass because early summer rains helped grass supplies," he states.
Garnett cut his production from 635 acres of alfalfa to 155 acres for next year, planning to plant more corn and wheat. "I had some alfalfa I needed to take out of production because the fields were getting old, and this was the year to do it," he reports. The fields had been in for eight or nine years, which is fairly typical for his area. "Because of our irrigation and our weed management, we can usually make a good field of alfalfa go that long," he says.
He plans to plant about 125 acres of alfalfa in 2008. He would like to see Roundup Ready alfalfa become available again. "We were ready to plant around 160 acres of Roundup Ready alfalfa when the injunction went into effect," he states. "We changed our plans and decided to plant corn on those acres for now." He also has 60 acres of Midland 99 bermudagrass under a pivot. He has 34 cows, 235 heifers and a feeder-calf enterprise.
Contact Garnett at 806-270-0204.
"It was a pretty tough summer in Virginia," reports Chris Teutsch, extension forage specialist at the Virginia Tech Southern Piedmont Agriculture Research and Education Center, Blackstone. "Producers in many counties only got 50-70% of their first cutting, and lots of counties didn't get a second cutting or a fall cutting because of the dry weather," he says. "Rain came late, around the third week of October, so there was not a lot of pasture growth."
Teutsch says many livestock producers are turning to alternative feeds, such as pelleted byproducts, that can be fed along with hay to help extend the hay supply. "Lots of producers have culled all the cattle they can and are just trying to get through the winter," he states.
Contact Teutsch at 434-292-5331.