A cool, wet spring has Wyoming’s growing season off to a sluggish start. Ken Hamilton with the Wyoming Farm Bureau says some crops—like corn and sugar beets—were planted as much as three weeks later than usual. He says hay production has also been hurt by all the precipitation.
The floods in Colorado could cause a spike in hay prices, which could be good and bad news for Wyoming ranchers.
Many Colorado ranchers lost their season’s hay supply in the deluges that swept across the eastern plains. And that means many Colorado ranchers will likely turn to Wyoming hay producers to feed their livestock through the winter, if they have livestock left to feed.
Brett Moline with the Wyoming Farm Bureau says this might cause the price of hay to rise on the market.
Wyoming is reporting better hay production numbers than last year, but much of the state is still under-producing.
Last year, 2012, was one of the worst years for hay in Wyoming’s recent history, due to drought and sustained high temperatures. The news is better this year, with producers predicting a 4%increase in yield, thanks to better rainfall early snows.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service is warning that the warm, dry weather this spring could drive up winter hay prices.
Wyoming’s snowpack is less than 30 percent of average, and Water Supply Specialist Lee Hackleman says farmers who get their water by diverting streams and rivers will be left high and dry.
“There’ll be a lot of people who will probably get their first cutting irrigated but won’t have any water for their second cutting,” Hackleman said. “So there’s liable to be a hay shortage again this winter.”