A hay shortage is looming for producers in the Upper Midwest after a cold spring hit the region’s alfalfa crop hard. Dairy farmers, in particular, are affected by this "winter-kill," according to Fox 11 News in Wisconsin.
The degree of this year’s winter-kill may mean there won’t be enough hay from alfalfa to go around, forcing livestock producers to replace it with other grains.
Replacement feed will produce milk, "but it's not gonna produce milk like alfalfa would. We'll get by, but we're not gonna get the milk production that you normally would," said Dan Brick, owner of Brickstead Dairy in Greenleaf, Wis.
The stunted alfalfa crop will also impact attempts to re-plant. Read, “Alfalfa crop hit hard by ‘winter kill’”
Further to the east, conditions aren’t much better. The Daily Mining Gazette notes that the long winter weather has put a “kink” in the plans of area farmers. Many of these farmers are seeing their feed supplies dwindle, and while some are willing to purchase hay at “historically high prices.” others opt for feed by-products.
"We're dependent on the weather," Jim Countryman of Polfree Farms near Dexter, Mich., said. "As a farming friend once said, 'Mother Nature rules and she rules absolutely.'"
Recently, the University of Minnesota launched two web sites to help producers deal with forage-shortage and late-planting issues. Click here more information.