Ranchers Seek Alternatives to Expensive Winter Hay

Nov 25, 2012

Cowboy herds his cattle in winter
Credit File photo

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Cattle ranchers in Kansas and Oklahoma are looking for alternative ways to feed their animals this winter after one of the worst droughts in the nation's history cut hay production. Hay supplies are tight and prices are high.

At Debbie and Duane Blythes ranch in the parched Flint Hills of Kansas cattle are grazing on the leafy tops of turnips the couple planted for them after cutting their winter wheat.

The Blythes' hay production is down, so they are also chopping up failed crops of corn and milo for silage. The plan to also feed straw mixed with higher quality feeds or supplements.

Dairy-quality alfalfa hay is now selling for about $260 to $285 a ton, although prices can go as high as $300 a ton. Stock cow-quality hay is now averaging about $260 a ton.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.