Drought conditions, high temperatures leading to bleak East Texas hay season

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Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 5:10 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT

GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Drought conditions and high temperatures have led to a bleak season for hay producers in East Texas.

“Been on the good years and bad years, seems like lately its more bad years than good years,” said Eddie Holley, Owner of Kilgore feed.

Holley said this year has been tough for East Texas hay production.

“We’re in serious, serious shape with the temperatures, because it just cooks everything you know 100+ degrees and you get out here, fertilizer price has doubled this year,” Holley said.

Gregg County Ag Extension Agent Shaniqua Davis says the weather conditions proved difficult for good harvests of hay.

“At this point, we have gotten some rain where they may be able to get one more cutting push, but we are looking at a standstill on a lot of hay production and most people are down to about 25-percent hay production whenever they were getting their first or maybe their second cutting,” she said.

Davis said on good years, some people can expect to get 3 to 5 bales of hay per acre. Now, people are getting 1 bale or less per acre. That means East Texas ranchers are having to make difficult decisions.

“Are you going to be able to purchase hay at the higher costs due to having to truck it in looking at it from other states bringing it in or paying the higher costs for the production value as opposed to having to sell off some of your cattle,” she said.

Holley said hay is available from states to the east, but high diesel costs also are contributing to high hay costs.

“What the downside of that is they are wanting six dollars a loaded mile to deliver it and they’re trying to cover their diesel costs,” he said.

Holley said the one thing every hay producers wants right now is rain.

“Just pray for rain, that’s the best hope we got,” Holley said.

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