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South Dakota Farmers, Ranchers Dealing with Hay Shortage

Historic Drought Cripples Ranches And Farms In American West
John Moore/Getty Images

YANKTON – South Dakota farmers and ranchers are searching for solutions to deal with the hay shortage.

SDSU Extension agronomy crops field specialist Larry Wagner tells the Yankton Press and Dakotan that the issues started last summer when pastures started giving out and some people had to start feeding early in the fall.

Wagner says it’s like adding a month or two to a winter feeding program.

The USDA says production of all dry hay in 2012 was down 9 percent to 120 million tons – the lowest production level since 1964. South Dakota produced 4 million tons last year, a 53-percent decrease.

Wagner says it’s going to be costly bring in hay from other parts of the country – as much as $300 per ton for good alfalfa hay.

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