Pressure : 29.86 in
Dewpoint : 64.9 °
Wind : South
Hay shortage leaves livestock owners in a panic
This is the worst drought the nation has seen in half a century. And because of the drought the price of hay has skyrocketed for livestock owners.
Regardless of the price tag, horse owners can't even find hay.
Mid Nebraska Feeds of Grand Island usually sells hay out of their store. But this year they say they can't even find it to sell.
And just like the drought, the problem of finding feed keeps getting worse.
The drought has completely engulfed the state of Nebraska, taking with it our hay.
"The fields are down anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of what they produced last year," said Mid Nebraska Feeds Manager Amy Jo Kent-Bures.
Leaving horse owners with a nightmare.
"They're in a panic. They're definitely in a panic because they placed their orders a year ago. I want this many ton for the coming year and they go to get their hay picked up or delivered and it's not there," said Kent-Bures.
And the anxiety builds when they keep searching.
"There is no hay supply. There is no hay supply. So, basically, it's going to have to be shipped in from out of state. Anybody that, what little they got off their fields this year, they're keeping for their own livestock and they do not even have any to sell to their own customers," Kent-Bures said.
Which is what the Lazy K Arena has to do this year.
Kaleb: "Last year we had a really good hay crop and this year we're getting 20 maybe 25 percent of the hay we got last year. We have enough but it's tough right now, we can't sell any," said Kaleb Lilienthal, Lazy K Arena.
And even if you can find it, the price of hay is through the roof.
"Right now, standard prairie hay is running $250-$260 a ton and alfalfa is running about $300 a ton and crawling up every week," said Kent-Bures.
Mid Nebraska Feeds says their sales have boomed with horse owners trying to improvise.
"Some of them are going on complete feeds that can find no hay at all and others are supplementing a grain," said Kent-Bures.
This hay is scarce for many, and it's essential for these guys. Unfortunately, the problem is only going to get worse.
"I can tell you right now that by spring there are going to be a lot of underweight horses because most people are not going to be able to buy the hay or the grain. So there will be a lot of abandoned horses, a lot of sold horses, and a lot of just underweight horses. It's not going to be good," Kent-Bures said.
You may remember last year when Texas was suffering from drought Nebraska sent hay to help.
Well, Amy Jo with Mid Nebraska Feeds says Texas is still recovering. Even with the rain, it takes a year or two for a field to snap back. And she says we'll be in the same boat, seeing the effects of the drought even next year.
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