The farming community is realizing the effects of the current hay shortage. Reasons include the widespread drought, with rising costs of fertilizer and fuel as main factors in the crisis.
Now is the time to find hay and get your farm stocked for the foreseeable future. Follow these action steps to best survive the crisis.
Read more: Can you cut hay with a brush hog?
Know Where to Look
Keep an eye on social media platforms, including Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and local farming group pages for good, local hay at affordable prices.
Inquire at local feed stores. (The big-box farm stores aren’t the best places to look.)
Just drive around and see what’s in the fields of nearby farms. Call other ranchers in your area and get on their list, or get their contact for who supplies them. Staying close to home will help with your fuel costs, too.
Know What You Need
Using apps and websites with hay calculators will help you predict usage for your farm. The hay calculator allows you to enter the type and quantity of livestock you own, what kind of hay you are feeding currently and how long you project to feed.
The calculations will tell you how many bales you will need for that amount of time. Feed according to the calculator. Do not overfeed and waste the stockpile.
Know How to Store Properly
Always store high, dry and ventilated. Hay racks, bale bags and feed bins all work to not only keep the food secure and free from rotting, but also eliminate waste. If your livestock is permitted to graze on the entire bale, they will pick out what they want and stomp on the rest.
Use these tools to save your hay and your money.
Hobby farmers need to pay attention and prepare for food shortages—not just for themselves, but also for their animals. Buying early, storing responsibly and feeding properly will keep you from facing a crisis during the widespread hay shortage.