PRESTON, Minn. (FOX 47) -- As much of the country is suffering from dry conditions farmers and ranchers are the hardest hit, wondering how they'll make ends meet. Grassy meadows where cows typically graze are dried up and the demand for hay is on the rise, with prices expected to skyrocket.
Typically farmers are able to cut and bale at a minimum 4 crops of hay during the summer, but the lack of rain and excessive heat is causing the hay to stop growing. Lowell Tollefson's hay shed is always full, come mid-July, but not this year. "I've taken 2 crops so far and I'm ready to take the third, but I would say that my yields have been about 2/3 of normal," said Lowell Tollefson, a Preston farmer.
The hay shortage that is expected to affect the entire nation. "You're going to get a bigger price for your hay, but you've got less of it," said Ron Gehling, President of Gehling Auction, Inc, out of Preston.
Ron Gehling said word on the street is that hay prices will skyrocket from $250 dollars a ton to $400 dollars a ton. While producers looking to sell their hay will be able to do so for above average prices out of state livestock owners may be hard hit.
"The southwest is getting hit, cattle company is short on hay and short on feed. I don't know if they're going to be able to truck it that far with the cost of fuel. A lot of guys from the south and southwest are being forced into marketing cattle, selling their cows, sending them to slaughter," stated Gehling.
He said with a short hay crop this summer, many livestock producers have been forced to use the hay they typically store for winter use. Gehling Auction will begin selling hay in October, continuing through the early Spring.
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