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Hay Crisis Reaches North Texas, Ranchers Stunned At Shortage

CELINA (CBSDFW.COM) – With 75 percent of the state suffering through an exceptional drought, ranchers have begun using words like “desperation” and “panic” when it comes to finding and affording hay to feed their livestock.

“I can’t remember the shortage of hay like it is right now,” Punk Carter said.

Carter is a cutting horse trainer in Celina, in Collin County. For months, North Texas avoided the conditions that farmers in the western and southern parts of the state were dealing with.

But now, the hay crisis has hit the northern counties. Prices, feed stores say, have risen 20 to 30 percent this summer. Some say they’ve gone up even more.

“West Texas, South Texas all around us is just devastated. And, that’s been going on for a while now. So, it’s catching up with us,” Carter said.

Carter owns 30 horses. Hay to feed them now costs him almost $1,000 a month, he said.

One square – a 55 to 65 pound of hay – costs $9.75 right now. Last year at this time, it was $2.00 less, he said.

The lack of rain has withered hay crops.

Robby Sims, one of the managers with D & L Farm and Home said ranchers are calling, desperate for hay.

“You get 20 to 25 phone calls a day. ‘Do you have hay? How much is hay?’ Everybody’s kind of getting to that point where they’re struggling and panicking with it,” Sims said.

And hay isn’t just for horses. Farmers are selling their cattle in record numbers because they can’t afford the hay to feed them.

There’s a surplus of beef now but Punk Carter thinks it will eventually come back to bite us, and customers will pay at the grocery store.

“It’ll take a while to get those herds built back up so, to me, I think the prices will go up even more later on when we realize our numbers are down,” Carter said.

Though the future looks bleak, Carter stopped short of calling it “Haymageddon”

“I don’t know if it’s that bad. But seriously, it’s not, you know, it’s not fun,” Carter said.

  • http://dallasforme.com/2011/07/hay-crisis-reaches-north-texas-ranchers-stunned-at-shortage/ Hay Crisis Reaches North Texas, Ranchers Stunned At Shortage — Me and the Chicks

    […] like ?desperation? and ?panic? when it comes to finding and affording hay to feed their livestock. More from: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/0… PreviousPost […]

  • Hemroidious

    Hay? I thought those were crop circles.

    • edward

      Farmers from other states need to help each other like they have in the past. I remember hay being trucked to farmers from other states years ago. When times got hard on the other side of the fence they helped each other in return and so on .I am in Kentucky we had too much rain early in the season.

      • ew

        It’s being brought in as much as possible, but at a very high price.

  • David Pass

    Robert, I don’t know where you’re located, but if you’re in Texas, get out and look at some of our hay fields. Most of them are brown. No hay is growing. Most of what little was cut earlier this year has been used or sold. Things look pretty grim around our part of the state – near Bowie, about midway between Ft. Worth and Wichita Falls. Still, bad as it is, don’t let people tell you this is the worst drought in 100 years. It’s not. It’s bad, but so far, it’s just a few months. In the 50’s and the 30’s drought went on for several years.

  • m brekke

    Our hay supply is low up north too, missouri, kansas, iowa, nebraska. its too hot and dry go grow alot of grass this year.
    Texas…sell the cows and horses.
    Start raising goats..
    the muslim americans will luv u for it

  • Born in Texas

    City dwellers are still watering their lawns, mowing the grass and throwing away the clippings. A resourceful farmer could offer to pick up those clippings in a trailer and use them to feed his cattle. Everyone wins: The homeowners get their green waste removed for free, the farmers get free hay, and the cows get a tasty new treat. The only condition would be that there couldn’t be any chemicals on the grass.

    • hgdh

      you can’t feed fresh cut hay to a cow – you’ll kill it you idiot.

      • That Guy

        Is it really necessary to call someone an idiot because they don’t understand the nuances of feeding cattle?

        You idiot.

      • Ben Mason

        Of course you can you city slicker, I raise cattle and what do you think they eat in the pastures that are lush and green every year? You just balance it with a little grain.

      • Feste Ainoriba

        Not sure why this is important. With modern stores, we really don’t need cattle ranches anyway – most people get their beef and dairy products at their local supermarket. When was the last time you heard of somebody who bought meat or dairy products from a ranch! ;)

    • Roscoe Tannenger

      I have horses and cows in the Northeast, and too much rain killed our first cutting.

      Here’s prayers for things to get better soon. Know what you’re all going through.

    • ew

      Do you have any idea how much a cow eats?

  • Gentleman James

    Still waiting on a rain to sprout the seeds to grow hay. Less than an inch total since last October. Sold near 2/3 of my cows to hopefully winter the rest on remaining hay from last year.

    • hoppinl

      Eastern Wyoming. Up to our necks in sweet grass. Huge snow melt.

  • Lhoppin

    Wyoming has tons of hay. The sweet grass is 3-4 feet high. You can come and bail it off my property for free.

    • Paul


      You can’t just up and move….diesel tractor and trailer, tractor, cutter, rake, bailer. Think of the man hours, fuel, room & board, Saying nothing about moving around several hundred thousand dollars of gear…If the quality is good, perhaps you can do all the above with your equipment and ship it to Texas.

      • Another 5 letter for fraud... OBAMA

      • lhoppin

        Bought the land as an investment.. no equipment on site. Normally, the local ranchers cut it down. Guess they don’t need it this year.

  • Jeff Lipsky

    I just hope that when it does begin to rain that it starts slowly. If the rain starts right off with torrents the ground has no time to absorb it and erosion is terrible. A few light showers prep the soil for absorption of larger amounts.

  • Mrs. Peters

    we are small time ranch, with goats, sheep and donkey. our property looks like pulverized dirt. we are central tx and everyone looks like we do.the comment . since when does ANYTHING grow w/o rain ? our biggest worry, is the well running dry, then the animals will all lack drinking water also. praying for the tropical depression to bring rain ! and like Jeff said..slow and steady not torrents. and one more thing..Robert idiotic statement…apparently you’ve never experienced a drought.

    • Gulchin

      Praying that the good Lord sprinkles life giving water upon your land.

      • dgh

        Only Living Water grants life

  • mike

    Robert is a city dweller. He is the same type that thinks farmers don’t have to buy groceries because they raise everything on the farm or ranch. What an idiot!

  • David Pass


    Maybe it could be shipped to Texas by rail. Should be cheaper than trucking. I think you’d find a good market for it!

    • gulchin

      It would probably get stolen while passing through Camden.

  • Brad

    Northern Oklahoma-
    Just unloaded a semi load of hay out of northern kansas. Freight was a fair price and hay is good and affordable. Drought is bad here, our pasture produced less than half of normal. Keep looking cause its out there but it goes fast. Good luck and God Bless and at least we know beef will be up next year and maybe make springs calves make a little of this back.

  • AZsmitty, Arizona

    City folks never realise crisis until they see their grocery store shelve are bare. Idiotic EPA regulations like shutting off the water to the best growing areas of California to save some dang fish. I know Punk Carter, like most Texans he has a habit of understatement when things are bad. If he isn’t showing panic, trust me, he ain’t sleeping very well at night. Weather patterns in Texas are notorious, you will wake up one day to torrential rains that will then wash away the powder dry top soil, and turn the “black gumbo” into mud so gooie it will suck the horse shoes of your mount. Our neighbors raise bermuda grass hay in what are called “rounds” usually they harvest thousands of those 1 ton rounds every year…………things are bleak, what used to bring $50.00 per round now bring close to 100.00 if you can find them. When all you athiest out there get hungry enough even ya’ll will start praying for rain.

  • Bob Rigby

    Sorry to hear about the drought. I’ve offered Texas a new technology to produce potable water from sea water, without using electricity. I’ve talked with every agency in Texas. No takers. I’m having a technical briefing in September, and confirmations are coming in from a number of government agencies in different states.

    • horsedoc

      Bob Rigby – perhaps you should market it to private individuals/groups.

  • Jim

    I have hay in Arkansas to give away if you will cut, roll and haul it to TX.

    • Jim

      It is in Searcy, Arkansas.

  • JamesD

    East Kansas seems to have a lot of hay. I saw trucks heading south loaded with it.

    Drive up US 75. North of Yates Center you start seeing a lot of hay. What are rounds selling for down in Texas? Figure on $2/mile for trucking. I didn’t see much in OK.

    May the Lord provide you with relief. Stay tough.

  • jetblast

    I have some CRP land in SE Nebraska that has the potential to produce about 40-50 tons of native grass hay. Because of the government program, I am not allowed to produce anything on this land so I must destroy half of the crop. If someone would like to try their luck at allowing the govenment to allow me to GIVE you the hay, feel free.

    I acquired the land from a relative’s estate sale and it was already enrolled in the CRP program and I cannot opt out for another couple years. The government doesn’t even allow for grazing on this land.

    I’d put up the hay for free if someone wants to haul it away. I’m not looking to make any profit from it…it’s just stupid to throw away this crop when it’s desperately needed elsewhere.

    • kzzallen

      Just heard that you can utilize half your CRP acreage for hay due to the shortage. You might check into it.

  • http://gandalf1316.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/texas-radio/ TEXAS RADIO | Gandalf's Staff

    […] Storm Don Targets Texas… TRACK… Hay Crisis In Texas: Heat Causing Extreme Shortage… State turns to prayer… REPORT: U.S. soldier arrested; planned attack on Ft. […]

  • sean patriot


    • Charles_Texas

      If you live in Central Tx and have hay, where becuase I live in Central Tx too and I raise hay. Corn stalk rolls are selling for 50 each and going as fast as they can be rolled.

    • Charles_Texas

      If you have hay for sale in Central Texas at a HUGELY DISCOUNTED PRICE…I’ll buy all you have.

  • Rick O'hea

    Two cutings here in Anderson County. I went through the drought of the early 50s and this is just as bad or worse, depends on the length of this one.

  • Mike

    Question. How long do bales of hay stay suitable for the animals to consume?

    • Charles_Texas

      Round bales will last a year but start to decline in nutritional value. After two they are good for composting.

  • Tucker

    Robert…you horses ass!!

  • Dan

    Check out Craigslist.com and type in hay. I hope this helps!

  • k

    The field next to my house in Wise Co. has yet to be cut the first time this year.

  • KayN

    In many cases around the counties I work in, it’s not the lack of grazing. The tanks in some areas are completely dry. You can’t hold stock on the land no matter how much hay you have if there’s no water.

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