NORMAN — Old Man Winter is lingering around much of the United States this year, helping to exaggerate the effects of limited forage supplies for beef producers.
“Drought in 2011 and 2012 reduced U.S. hay production while increasing hay demand, leaving the nation with extremely limited forage supplies,” said Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist.
On December 1, stocks of all hay were down nearly 28 percent from a 2001-2010 average prior to the drought. States with the biggest decrease in hay stocks are, in descending order: Texas, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, Michigan and Minnesota.
“These 11 states all experienced reductions in hay stocks of 1 million tons or more, accounting for 72 percent of the total decrease in December 1 hay stocks compared to the 2001-2010 average,” Peel said. “Decreased hay stocks for Texas, South Dakota, Missouri and Kansas all exceeded 2 million tons.”
In addition, drought played a major role in reducing hay production in many other states in either 2011 or 2012, or both. The 2011-2012 average all-hay production for the United States decreased 16 percent from the 2001-2010 average.
A comparable list of the top 11 states with decreased 2011-2012 average all-hay production is the same as previously cited for hay stocks with two exceptions: South Dakota and Minnesota are replaced on the list by California and Ohio.
Compared to the 2001-2010 average, the 11 states with the biggest decrease in 2011-2012 production accounted for 77 percent of the total U.S. decrease in production.
Of course, drought generally has a bigger impact on hay yields compared to harvested acreage. The recent U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service report on prospective plantings included estimated hay harvested acreage for 2013.
“Interestingly, a look at how harvested-hay acreage has changed in recent years indicates changes in hay production that go beyond the drought impacts of the past two years,” Peel said.