In a drastic change from last year, this summer’s hay crop may be at risk as wet weather delays harvest, forcing cattle producers to consider alternative feeding options.
Wet weather has impacted many cattle producers and brought on a new set of challenges that are considerably different from the drought conditions of the past two years.
One Tennessee farmer is worried about hay quality as rain will force him to harvest later than expected. Joe Alexander told ABC6 he would have already cut his hayfield. If he doesn’t harvest hay before it matures it won’t keep its nutrients and waiting too long makes the crop worthless.
Alexander will have to wait for the hay to dry before he can get to work.
The most recent Crop Progress report by the USDA shows an average of 42 percent of pasture and rangelands in the 48 states are in good condition, another 25 percent is in fair condition. Both figures are an improvement over the previous week.
The rain has supported pasture conditions in the Southeast where many states in the region have at least 60 percent of pastures in good condition. Areas further west are in poorer shape. Only two percent of California pastures are in good condition and four percent of Arizona pastures are above fair condition.
A release by the University of Missouri says crop and soil conditions are at risk later this season with heavy rain increasing erosion in many areas.
“In foot slopes where crops were planted, the accumulated sediment has in some areas covered the plants, causing a loss of stand,” Kitchen Newell Kitchen, adjunct associate professor of soil science at MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, says.