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‘Although the hot, dry weather of June and July helped the hay crop to be harvested in generally good condition, most hay yields were lower than last year,’ says Neil Blue, provincial crops market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. ‘Feeders who realize they are short of forage are now trying to secure their winter feed needs.’
Blue points out there is some carryover hay supply from the 2020 hay crop. Depending on how that hay has been stored, it is still a valuable forage source. ‘It should be purchased and fed with caution, however, because some deterioration has likely occurred.’
Some producers with cattle are silaging some of their annual crops to salvage what is left of those declining yield prospects. There will also be straw produced from this year’s cereal crop harvest.
‘Straw is used as bedding and cows will eat straw, but required concentrates, whether grain, screenings, pellets or protein meal, will be more expensive this coming winter. Producers will need to reassess their ration alternatives to determine the least cost, available feeding combinations.’
For those who want to buy hay or straw, there are a few sources to consider for prices and contacts. ‘In no order of priority, here are some of those sources.’
One source is custom hay cutting and baling operators, who may acquire standing crops or a crop share as part of their business. Some hay truckers are also hay brokers, who act as either a reseller or as an agent for a hay seller.
Another source of hay or pellets is hay processors. A list of hay processors can be found under “alfalfa” and “hay” within the latest publication of the Alberta Agricultural Processing Industry Directory.
Alberta Agriculture & Forestry also provides monthly survey information on various farm input prices, including hay. AFSC lists historic quarterly hay prices with other commodity prices on its resources page.
Farming the Web, a project of the Alberta Forage Industry Network, a replacement for Alberta Agriculture’s “General Store,” has a “Hay, Feed, Straw & Crop” listing. As well, The Hay Exchange, a US-based site, has some Canadian listings by province.
‘Farmers are resilient, and despite the discouraging weather conditions, will find the means to deal with the current shortage of quality, reasonably priced feed,’ says Blue.
For more information, contact Neil Blue:
For media inquiries about this article, call Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s media line:
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