Drought takes a toll on hay production in Missouri: Yields at just 25% of normal

Large bale of hay

(Brownfield Network) – A livestock specialist with the University of Missouri Extension says producers in west-central Missouri started baling hay in the last week.

But Gene Schmitz tells Brownfield the continued dry conditions haven’t helped the yield for the first cutting.  “I’ve talked to some producers who are estimating their hay crop is 25% of normal and that’s probably not going to be the exception.”

Schmitz says the consistency of managing dry fields will be important for future cuttings, along with getting much-needed moisture.

In the latest Crop Progress and Conditions report, USDA shows 59% of the first alfalfa hay cutting complete in the state, with 28% of other hay cuts. Missouri’s hay and roughage supplies are rated 61% short to very short, a worsening from the previous week. Pasture conditions are rated 41% fair.

However, the dry conditions helped planting progress. USDA says 86% of Missouri’s soybeans are planted, a slight improvement from the previous week, with more than half of the crop emerging and soybean conditions rated 51% good to excellent.

Most of Missouri’s corn has emerged with conditions rated 55% good to excellent.

USDA says most of the state’s cotton and rice have been planted, with conditions at 72% and 65% good to excellent, respectively. Both crops are emerging with 3% of cotton squaring. The majority of Missouri’s winter wheat is headed.