Beef producers in West Tennessee shouldn’t have any problems finding enough hay for their herds this winter. “We’ve had an absolutely great year for making hay,” says J.C. Dupree, director for University of Tennessee Extension, Lauderdale County.

“Typically, most producers get two good cuttings, and some will get a scrap on a third. This year, a lot of producers will get three good cuttings, and some may even get a fourth.”

That’s a marked turnaround from hay production in 2012. “Last year, producers were doing good to get one cutting,” says Dupree. “What the drought didn’t get, the armyworms cleaned up.”

Grass hay prices in the area have dipped slightly from last year’s highs. Round bales of bermudagrass, weighing 1,100-1,200 lbs each, have been bringing as much as $60/bale. “That’s for the high-end hay that’s been fertilized, is clean and was cut at optimum nutrition.”

Round bales of average-quality, mixed-grass hay have been selling for $30-35/bale. “Last year, when hay was so scarce, the price for the average quality hay was closer to $50/bale.”

Dupree can be reached at 731-635-9551 or jdupree1@utk.edu.

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