Winter weather across the West has been mixed so far going into the new year. Early December rain and mild temperatures helped start new grass growth in the foothill pastures of Central California. This was a positive development for beef cattle ranchers in that area as they had been scrambling for hay in November.
In early December, growers in central Arizona were hoping to bale one more cutting of alfalfa, but with the cool temperatures and unsettled weather, most growers opted to greenchop instead. The Imperial Valley of California was in a similar situation with the threat of rain causing growers to hold off on cutting alfalfa hay for a month. With the delay, the hay appearance and quality test results were expected to be below average.
Snowfall in Idaho has been average to below average, and supplies of feeder hay are normal. Demand for beef cattle hay continues to be light. Areas of central Wyoming saw early snow, and some beef ranchers have been buying feeder hay out of eastern Idaho. The weather for the next couple of months will be very important for hay carryover going into 2020.