Tough choices ahead for farmers

Well we started to make some hay and decided to quit all within a few days. We are planning to cut a couple more fields that are decent, but the others are depressing and painful to bale so we are going to wait and just hope we get some growth. That seems wrong but I don’t know what else to do.

The short stuff does not go through the baler well and you end up with a big mess of chaff. I was so frustrated. Even the stuff that was decent was a far cry from most years.

I really don’t remember in my lifetime of haying that we ever cut such a little amount of feed.

The truth is cattle (and other animals) are going to have to leave and that is depressing. This most likely means that the market will be flooded so the prices we will receive for these animals will be at an all time low. You are selling off genetics and animals that you have spent years building and growing. Some years hay is sold across the district but this year I am afraid that we are all in the same boat. And when feed is tight the price of it skyrockets.

Ongoing drought conditions are leaving area farmers with ever-shrinking options. Pastures are sparse, and hay hasn’t grown enough to harvest on many fields, making for dramatic feed shortages. Slaughter will be the only option for many, undoing years of careful herd development, with little relief from government programs. – file photo

Thousands – and I mean big thousands – of dollars are spent on fertilizer for our hay and pasture fields and with no rain we are seeing no rewards. I am a small farmer and I spent $10,000 on fertilizer this spring and you wouldn’t even know we spread it. I realize many people won’t see the issues with this, but we are where your food comes from.

The government often offers Tax Deferrals on drought years. This isn’t enough. Giving us a deferral on selling on animals at an all time low, then when the rain comes, and we try to increase our herds again and high prices makes no sense. We need assistance for accessing feed.

Pastures are running out and this is the beginning of July. So, the feed shortages are very real right now. Mother Nature continues to send the rain around us this year.

At the Station our dry conditions continue to show us some uneven heading in our cereals and the weed pressure is crazy. There are some weeds that seem to be loving this heat and dry weather.

As well, there are some other pests that enjoying our current conditions as well, such as grasshoppers, aphids. It seems to be a battle to stay on top of these pests this year as well.

We had four days off, so this week is going to be busy trying to get back on top of all these things. If there is one positive thing; the electric fence is working to keep the deer out of our soybeans, but they are really needing a drink of water!

I think our crops will welcome some cooler temperatures this week along with many people. I enjoy these hot days and the evenings have been perfect.

I got my bulls pulled and cows are put together again as a herd. I didn’t know if I should be happy or sad as I just kept thinking about how long the grass will hold up and how many cows I am going to have to sell. These are not fun times.