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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

With the growing season winding down, hay and forage supplies are a mixed bag in Texas, according to AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

Local producers indicate that they had good yield with wheat hay, but some hay tested low on protein. That carried into the grass hay produced locally. Producers had great yields early, but report that the nutrient value may not be what they are use to. Late season yields were low due to moisture and the stressed plants produced lower value hay.
In the Coastal Bend and South Plains regions, there’s plenty of hay to go around. Throughout the eastern and northern parts of the state, though, stocks are either short or critically low.

Aaron Low, Extension agent in Cherokee County, says hay production in his region was hit with a double whammy. An unusually wet, cool winter and early spring delayed summer grasses coming out of dormancy. A midsummer drought followed, along with an extended triple-digit heat wave, bringing hay production to a halt. “It’s pretty much the same story throughout East Texas,” Low says.

Galen Logan, AgriLife Extension agent in Camp County, offers a similar account. Although many producers in his area got a second cutting, the season started late and supplies are low.

Logan says growers might offset low supplies by planting winter pastures. But unless the area gets more rain, they’ll just be wasting seed in dry ground. “It’s bad. I don’t know what we’re going to do,” he says.

North of Dallas in Collin County, there is a shortage of high-quality grass hay, says county agent Rick Maxwell. “But a lot of producers are baling up cornstalks, so I imagine we’ll be okay,” he says.

Maxwell cautions that cornstalks are low on energy and protein compared to grass hay. Producers will have to feed more of it and add supplements. But he believes most livestock producers will get through the winter without having to buy hay.

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