Dry weather caused most of us to miss out on half our hay crop this year, which in this part of the world is a really big deal. Hay prices are up and hay tonnage is way down in spite of significant rains in August. As hard as it may be to believe from looking at the lush pictures we still have an 8 inch moisture deficit which is fairly severe. It wouldn’t take much dry weather to put us back into a grass killing drought situation. We’re sure hoping that the extra 3.6 million gallons of water it would take to bring our farm back to normal falls between now and next spring. However, we really do need to be thankful for what we’ve got. Most of the country is in much worse shape than we are and it’s showing in elevated grain and feed prices.
Farmers have no shortage of cliches from which to choose advice on how to run their operations from the pooled wisdom of generations past. Much of the time the message contains at least a grain of truth and once in a great while the message is a hundred percent right. Such is the case with the old saying, “Good land is worth what it costs”. In this part of the world the first requirement of good land is that it needs to be deep enough and have enough organic matter to be able to hold onto whatever water falls on it. You can spend your life savings on seed and fertilizer but if it doesn’t rain enough to keep the soil moist it really isn’t going to matter very much because nothing is going to grow. Water is by far the most important nutrient for both plants and animals. This dry summer the difference between poor land and good land was two months worth of grass growth and grazing. We fed hay for six weeks this summer while those with poor land fed hay for three months. If we had been called on to feed hay for three months we would have completely exhausted our supply. That is a big difference and one that we are incredibly thankful for.
How is the dry weather affecting you and your horses ? What are feed prices doing in your neck of the woods ?