Off-Farm Income

It is very difficult to know what is in the future on our farm this year, and I know this is true for so many of you out there.  From weather to input prices to unavailability of fertilizer there is a lot that we just don't know.  For me, this big unknown is water and hay prices.  I don't know how long I will be able to irrigate for this year.  If they stop delivering water at the end of July, that is 2 extra months of hay that I have to feed.  The end of August equals one month extra.

With an already existing hay shortage due to massive development in the area, the drought is just making a pre-existing problem worse.  I am not sure how much hay that I should buy, because I don't know when I will begin feeding.  I have no idea what the price will be because farmers won't set that until after the first cutting his complete.  I have even heard that some farmers aren't taking reservations for hay, and they are going to set a floor price and auction their hay off to the highest bidder.

I have already reserved all of my hay, and I have not heard anything back from that farmer indicating that he is canceling my reservation and conducting an auction.  I am hoping that is not what I am looking at.  However, I do expect to be paying much higher prices and purchasing more hay than usual at those prices.  So, the impact on my bottom line will be significant.

So, starting out the season I am trying to take advantage of every blade of grass grown on my place.  There are a few different patches of grass in areas that are not fenced that usually get mowed.  This year, I am using temporary fencing or even putting up some additional permanent fence in order to graze these areas.  Every single blade of grass is going to matter for me because how long I get to irrigate is out of my control, and when it is over, it is over.  The more grass I have standing at that moment, the longer I can wait to begin burning hay.

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Category:farming -- posted at: 12:30am MDT