Monday, May 19, 2008

HAY IN SHORT SUPPLY--ALREADY

(The first cut of 2008 near Glenns Ferry, Idaho, Steve Ritter photo)

Hay running two weeks behind schedule

Ontario--In Eastern Oregon and Western Idaho the alfalfa is short and almost three weeks behind schedule despite a weekend heat wave.

With already short supplies, swathers were seen in the fields across Southwest Idaho cutting alfalfa that hasn’t even bloomed yet in an effort to get quick cash and move on to the second cutting in an attempt to catch up.

Normally alfalfa reaches 15 inches by the end of April, so far most alfalfa is measuring roughly 10 inches. Ninety-degree heat over the weekend helped but the first cut yields are expected to fall short because of the long cold snap.

Across Idaho hay prices are up to $145 from $120 per ton a year ago, a jump of 21 percent. In northern Idaho it’s $220 per ton and as much as $300 per ton in parts of California. Feeding a single horse can cost more than $2,000 a year or more.

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