‘It’s actually helped’: Hay farmers say crop will be plentiful despite weeks of severe weather

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DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas has seen quite a bit of flooding and severe weather in recent weeks, causing worry for many farmers around the state. But, local grass hay farmers said the rain has actually helped, and they expect a better crop than in past seasons.

“There’s more tunnage out there than there has been in the last several years,” said Tim Brandyberry, owner of Honeydew Hay. 

Brandyberry has been a hay farmer for many years. He’s spent his recent weeks in the field checking his hay to see if it’s dry enough to bale yet. 

“Right now, we’ve used all the carry-over stocks, so there’s no carry-over,” said Brandyberry. “Demand is pretty high again, but I do think that we’re gonna have a pretty good supply. We’ll just have to see if the demand keeps up with the supply.”

Brandyberry has had to keep a close eye on his crop because of the weather but said his family is lucky compared to other farmers. 

“They’re really hurting right now,” said Brandyberry. “You get to looking and a lot of them are going out of business.”

The rain did hurt other types of hay farmers. Brandyberry said alfalfa hay farmers are behind schedule and having to catch up because of the weather. 

“The rain actually helped the grass hay,” said Brandyberry. “We’re gonna have a pretty nice hay crop.”

But, the rain has caused worry about mold for uncovered hay and delayed the process of some planting. 

“If it turns to mold, a lot of times, you can’t use it for feed anymore,” said Brandyberry.

He said the molded hay will have to be used for other things or just burned altogether. 

“They’re just a big sponge and once it starts raining on them, it’ll soak up and there’s nothing you can do anymore,” said Brandyberry. 

Storm Creek Horse Co. and Rescue in Pretty Prairie was impacted by last year’s hay shortage. The owner said it’s a relief to hear the crop could be better this year.

“I’m crossing my fingers and hoping with all my heart that we have a good hay crop this year,” said Lisa Loyd, owner of Storm Creek Horse Co. and Rescue. 

Loyd and her family had to search all over Kansas for affordable hay when her suppliers ran out last season and the bales that were left cost too much money. 

“Seeing those prices quadruple in the last year, it’s really put a strain on things at the rescue,” said Loyd. “I don’t think we could handle another year of those hay prices.”

The hay farmers want customers to know that the drying out of the hay is taking longer than normal, so it will take a little more time for them to be baled for sale. 

Brandyberry said you can also expect more farm equipment on rural roads as farmers are trying to work quickly to make up the time they couldn’t work during severe weather and rain. 

For more information about Honeydew Hay, click here.

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