Recent Rains Likely to Boost Texas Hay Production Outlook

Good quality cuttings of hay could be in the future for hay producers across the state following widespread rains.

Dr. Larry Redmon, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program leader, College Station, said spring and summer presented subprime conditions for hay production on both ends of the weather spectrum.

Redmon said spring rains made it difficult for hay producers to access meadows and delayed or prevented first cuttings. The delays resulted in good quantities of hay but diminished nutrient values and quality.

The spring deluge was followed by 70-75 days of summer heat, including multiple 100 degree days in much of the state, that decreased moisture levels rapidly, Redmon said.

The lack of moisture slowed growth and in some cases led to dormancy in hay meadows. But then the rains came.

“I’m looking at fields that looked burnt up a week ago, and now they’re green and growing,” Redmon said. “It looks like producers might get a good second or third harvest.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service May 1 hay stock report, Texas had its highest surplus of fall/winter hay since 2008, 2.5 million tons, or 9 percent above 2015.

Redmon said producers who fertilized hay meadows based on forecasts that delivered rain would likely benefit most and see good new growth over the next few weeks. He said the next cutting would likely produce good yields and quality as long as fields are accessible when grasses peak.

Rangeland and pasture conditions around the state also improved following the rains and should provide adequate grazing in many areas until forages go dormant, according to AgriLife Extension agent reports.

AgriLife Extension district summaries can be found here.

Source: Texas AgriLife Extension

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