Record high rainfall is going to mean record high hay and pasture production in much of the Prairie region. The difficulty may be getting hay cut and baled in a timely manner to preserve quality. For a lot of cattle producers, it will be a year to stockpile forage production for the inevitable years when production is short. In drought years, livestock producers are often left scrambling for feed. Usually, there’s hay or green feed available somewhere, but the cost of transportation quickly becomes prohibitive. Dairy operations can afford to pay a high price for hay, but the cow-calf sector can’t justify it. This year, hay should be cheap and abundant, even in many regions that are traditionally drought prone. The limitation to stockpiling is storage issues. Net wrap on bales can help preserve quality. Hay sheds serve a similar purpose. Producers say silage can last for a number of years as long as there was a good job packing and covering the pit or bunker. There’s a cost involved with putting up hay sheds or setting up another silage bunker, but an extra stockpile of forage can be a great insurance policy. I’m Kevin Hursh.
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