Hay supplies projected to be tight for 2012 season and may be a concern of livestock producers

Dry growing conditions threaten to decrease hay supplies. Livestock producers are encouraged to review their forage demand and supplies for 2012.

Livestock farms (dairy and beef cattle) normally consume the majority of the hay and forages that are produced in this state. The dry growing conditions of this growing season have lowered hay yields below yields of the past few years. Most farms are now looking at their last chance to harvest the remaining forages that they will need to feed their livestock through this winter. Visit Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) farm management webpage for more information. 

Growers in Michigan, as well as most states in the mid-west are finding fewer acres of hay available for harvest. Compound the fewer acres with a reduced yield and the state is faced with a shortage of hay. The trend over the past several years is the gradual reduction in hay acres in favor of farms growing corn and soybeans, which have shown some new profit potentials.

Some farms may need to adjust production systems or consider feed and forage alternatives to adjust for production short falls in the 2012 hay crop. In response to the drought, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has made available the option to harvest hay from some Conservation Reserve (CR) fields. Farms that are considering harvest of CR fields should first visit their local USDA FSA office and get the official details about this hay harvesting option. Other farms will be looking to harvesting corn stover (stalks) after grain harvest as a supplement to their other hay and forage supplies in efforts to have enough feed to carry their livestock through this winter.

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