2022 Texas hay production outlook appears bleak

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Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:45 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The outlook on hay prices this season is bleak.

Range cubes have reached $400 per ton, while round bales are costing close to $80, according to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service. Angelina County extension agent Cary Sims has heard that hay production is at 25% of where it should be.

“What led to this is really kind of two factors,” said Sims. “Early on before we got dry, fertilizer prices were going and are sky high, and so if folks don’t fertilize, we don’t get that much production, and so we were expecting that, and then this recent dry weather set in and if you don’t have rain, it doesn’t matter if fertilizer is affordable or not.”

Sims said prices are bordering on being double what they are in a normal year. That matches what feed store manager Sam Raines sees. He estimates on average, his shipment of hay used to be $700. Now it’s $1,400. Even his feed bags have seen a 5 dollar increase. He says fuel costs also are a factor.

“Currently for us, the price is going up, and that’s really due to the fuel,” said Raines. “Not only the fuel to get it to us but the fuel to get the tractors out there, bail it all and get it loaded and I’m sure wages apply to that as well with their workers whoever they may have on hand.”

Another feed store owner in Lufkin said everything that goes into making hay has gone up. Not just fertilizer and fuel, but the cost of hay twine, fencing, and property taxes. This week at his store hay prices were raised by $1.50. Meanwhile, Sims says it is important to keep in mind the added pressure of growing for two seasons to have feed available in the winter. He has already seen people cut back on their herd numbers to combat the rising prices.

“We are finding a lot of folks think it’s wise right now to cull their herds,” said Sims. “To reduce the numbers, to go ahead and start selling off those problem cows, those cows that aren’t fertile, those cows that are too old and get back down to those cows that you might want to hold onto and let’s see if we have a turnaround in the weather.”

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