Winter’s early start may increase hay demand

Author: Kristy

A cold, snowy December has caused many livestock farms to reevaluate their winter supply of forage.

Posted on January 17, 2014 by Jerry Lindquist, Michigan State University Extension


An early start to winter has caused many farms in the upper Midwest to reconsider whether they will have enough hay and other feeds to get their animals to spring. The summer of 2013 allowed many farms to replenish exhausted forage supplies that were caused by the drought the previous year. Still last summer’s growing season was not perfect and many farms felt they had just enough feed to get through this winter as their harvest season ended.

Many farms after 2012’s drought had made plans to harvest more annual forage crops and/or to graze longer in the fall in an attempt to save hay. The dry late summer and early fall across much of the Mid-West decreased the yield of these crops but many farms still were cautiously optimistic about their winter feed supply. But one last hurrah of 2013 – the colder than normal, snowy December, led to early and substantial hay feeding on many livestock farms according to Michigan State University Extension beef educators.


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