Tight forage supplies likely for most of Midwest

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Tight forage supplies likely for most of Midwest

Michigan State University Extension educators are concerned about forage crops and supplies as major weather swings continue to cause plant stress.

Forage specialist Kim Cassida says perennial crops like hay and alfalfa can accumulate stress from multiple years of weather extremes which takes a greater toll on crop conditions compared to annuals like corn or soybeans.

“Wacky weather in general is not conducive to our forages preforming well and we’ve had a number of years in a row of unusual events,” she says.

Cassida says this year the drought area is large while other areas of the Midwest are too wet. 

“It has been really difficult to make good hay,” she says.  “Excellent or premium quality dairy hay is in extremely short supply and has been probably for about the last three years.”

USDA’s forage supply inventory was down 14 percent in May and with the rising corn price, Cassida says available acres are likely to decline as well.

She discussed ways farmers can mitigate forage shortages during the recent MSU Extension Field Crops Virtual Breakfast.

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