Kentucky hay growers could soon be taking their first cuttings, reports Tom Keene, hay marketing specialist with University of Kentucky Extension.

“We had a very cold March,” says Keene. “And plant material in a lot of areas was slow to get started.  But now that we’ve had some good warm weather, things are starting to green up. If everything keeps going like this, we could see people getting into the fields by the first week of May or the week after. Hopefully, we’re beyond the point now where we have a big freeze that could knock anything back.”

An early May first crop should take some pressure off of extremely low carryover hay stocks in the region coming out of the winter. “Driving around the state in the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen a few rolls of hay stacked out in the field here and there. But, for the most part, everything has been pretty well cleaned out. Anyone looking for hay right now will have to struggle to find it.”

Keene expects state hay acreage to be about the same this year as it was in 2012. “Corn and soybean prices have been coming back down to earth,” he notes. “We could probably still lose a few hay acres to those crops, but it won’t be anything like we’ve seen in the past couple of years.”

To contact Keene, call 859-257-3144 or email tom.keene@uky.edu.

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