Hay yields on the rise in Siouxland after late-season rain

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GAYVILLE, S.D. (KCAU) — Earlier this summer, owner of Barnes Hay and Feed John Marquardt said they’d be lucky to get a third cutting of alfalfa from his fields due to the intense drought, but thanks to some late rain, hay yields are looking better.

“Alfalfa has gotten a little better. As far as supply, we’re not quite as critically short as we were. Got some late rains that helped a lot as far as the forage side of it,” said co-owner of Green Meadows Forage, Rick Bye.

Bye says his business specializes in making premium quality animal feed designed for show animals like equine and swine. They’re best known for their Auto Pilot and Equal Balance products that can be found at ag dealers nationwide.

Bye explained that the drought has impacted alfalfa yields some but other crops are in even worse shape.

“Alfalfa’s a little more residual, we can water it, different things like that but the biggest thing in the Midwest here in the drought has been for things like oats and barley is unbelievable, they’re critically short,” said Bye.

Bye said that oats and barley may be up more than 100% from last year, largely due to the extremely dry climate where it’s produced the most: Montana, Wyoming, and Canada, where wildfires have ravaged crops.
He explained other factors that have caused the ag markets to soar.

“The world is turned upside down but it’s just like the perfect storm. We’ve got a drought with the issues that are going on in the country.”

Because parts of Siouxland didn’t see any rainfall for weeks over the summer, Bye has had to import grasses from well outside the region to keep up with his product’s demand.

“We’re farming, we’re trying to raise what we grow but we’ve not been able to get as much grass. I’ve went all the way to the other side of Montana to get some hay shipped in. Freight’s been incredible, normally we have people raise for us and the people that raise for us are dry also,” said Bye.

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