Kansas dairies feeling stress as summer drought wilts pastures and alfalfa fields, sending hay prices to record highs

WICHITA, Kansas , October 11, 2011 () – A summer of drought that wilted pastures and alfalfa fields has spawned record high hay prices this fall and looming shortages to feed cattle this winter.

The dairy industry is feeling the misery most keenly, with intense demand for top quality hay at the same time milk prices are slipping.

Prices for dairy-quality hay have almost doubled compared with a year ago. Acreage numbers were already down because so many growers had plowed up alfalfa fields to plant high-priced corn crops this year. Then drought further cut hay production.

Many Kansas growers sent much of their hay to drought-plagued Texas and Oklahoma where prices were highest.

That has left Kansas cattlemen scrambling to finding enough hay to feed this winter.

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