Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Drought Limiting Hay Supplies in Southwestern Oklahoma

Lawton

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is entering its third year of drought, and farmers and ranchers in southwestern parts of the state say hay supplies are drying up.

Hay is being hauled in from other states, which raises costs. Oklahoma-produced alfalfa is virtually nonexistent, and what scant hay that remains is only good for grazing beef cattle. Many types of horses need the good stuff, which is expensive to import, Vic Schoonover with Southwest Farm Press reports:

About the only hay in the Comanche County area that’s of a sufficient supply for the coming winter is wheat hay, baled by farmers after their wheat crop was killed this spring by late spring frosts.

Oklahoma’s ongoing hay shortage even inspired Lawton farmer and cattleman Joe McMahan to switch up his agribusiness to feed the drought-related need, Schoonover reports:

“I sold my dairy, and hay production is my main business now, growing, baling, hauling, buying and selling it.”


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