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Drought-induced hay shortage drives up prices

The USDA is predicting that this year’s hay crop will be the worst in decades because of the drought.

Platte County Extension Agent Dallas Mount says most Wyoming hay farmers are producing only half as much hay as usual, and some are producing none at all. He says that’s driving up prices.

“It used to be we would talk about eighty-dollar hay,” Mount said. “Then maybe about two years ago it moved into the hundred-dollar range. A hundred and fifty would have been a high hay year. This year we’re looking at average hay prices probably around two hundred and thirty to two hundred and forty dollars a ton. And that’s if you can find it.”

Mount says there’s a drastic hay shortage, and many ranchers are responding by selling off their cattle. But he says that hurts their business in the long-term, because it means they have fewer cows to sell next year and the year after.

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