IOWA (KCAU)— With the ongoing drought, cattle farmers started feeding hay to cattle and sheep a few months earlier than normal. However, increasing cost of feed are starting to weigh on farmers.
“Hay has been running now about 70% — 60 to 70% higher than it would have been back in our non-drought years,” said Beth Doran, Iowa State University Beef Specialist.
Many farmers reported dried out grass, allowing little to no grazing for cattle. Randy Kroksh, an Akron, Iowa cattle and crop farmer, said he has multiple fields around the area and some didn’t experience the drought.
“We ended up feeding some hay to a couple pastures to begin with in our area of western Plymouth County, and yet I have a pasture closer to Sioux City. Didn’t have to feed any hay down there at all,” said Kroksh.
With the harvest season starting earlier than usual, that means cattle producers will soon see a little bit of financial relief for feed.
“There wasn’t much corn in some of the silage in the drought stricken areas. It will still benefit the cattle. Granted, it’s not gonna be as nutritious as a normal year when you have quite a bit of corn in there, but it will still be very beneficial,” said Kroksh.
“Consequently I think what we’re going to see is probably some open (non-pregnant) cows come this fall. Some of it cause we don’t have the good nutrition, part of it is because of stress,” said Dora.
Fewer pregnant cows in the Fall mean fewer calves in the Spring and that will likely impact future beef prices.