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David Sparks Ph.d Hay's Ups and Downs
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: August 03, 2017

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Idaho farmer Tracy Walton Is into the dog days of summer harvest. With equipment scattered in wheat and hay fields, Walton is burning up the diesel in order to get crops in. Today, it is third crop hay. “We’re trying for the dairy markets so we cut early and then we cut every 30 days and it gets tiring.” There has been a hay glut the last three years due to a variety of factors which include beef and dairy producers seeking cheaper forage than hay, dairy producers receiving less money for their product, the export market being down and, quite frankly, too much hay production in the first place. All of that said, Walton’s high test alfalfa is selling for less this year than past years. But as a farmer, he knows how to survive the lean years and looks forward to better times down the road. “Three years ago we were pushing 220 a ton and now, if it tests real high, we'll get 150, if the tests a little lower than we get 140. If we have another winter next winter like the one last winter, that will take care of a lot of hay. The droughts in the Dakotas and Montana will take care of some hay. It’s a cycle thing. It goes up and people will put in hay.”

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