Got hay? It depends upon where you are, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
In the Coastal Bend and South Plains, hay and forage supplies were reported to be plentiful, but in large swathes of the state, it was a different story.
Throughout East Texas and parts of North Texas, stocks were either short or critically low, according to AgriLife Extension agent reports.
East and North Texas hay production got hit by a double whammy. An unusually wet, cool winter and early spring delayed summer grasses coming out of dormancy. A mid-summer drought followed, along with an extended triple-digit heat wave, bringing hay production to a halt, said Aaron Low, AgriLife Extension agent in Cherokee County, south of Tyler.
"That's what happened here, and it's pretty much the same story throughout East Texas," Low said.
Galen Logan, AgriLife Extension agent in Camp County, northeast of Longview, gave a similar account. Though many of the producers in his area got a second cutting, the season started late and supplies are low.
Logan said producers in his area might offset low supplies by planting winters pastures, but unless his area gets more rain they will just be wasting seed in dry ground.
"It's bad. I don't know what we're going to do," Logan said.
North of Dallas, the answer to "Got hay?" would be, "Yes and no," said Rick Maxwell, AgriLife Extension agent for Collin County.
"No, we are short of high quality grass hay," Maxwell said, "but a lot of producers are baling up corn stalks, so I imagine we'll be okay."
Maxwell noted that though supplies of corn stalk hay will be plentiful, it is low on energy and protein compared to grass hay. Producers will have to feed more of it and add supplements, but he believes most will get through the winter without having to bale hay.
In his area, rains have been hit and miss, with only some areas getting enough moisture for another cutting.