The hay farmers cut the hay, which did not grow tall and leafy without moisture, but grew short and stalky and went to seed early. This is a form of self preservatin for the plants, ensuring that the seed will be able to procreate despite poor conidtions. Farmers did get some hay and many resorted to cutting the grass in sloughs and ditches to supplement their hay fields. Still the yield was poor.
Agricutural disaster has been declared. Suddenly, the cost of a large 1.5 ton bale of hay has jumped to three, four and five times more than the usual cost of around $50 per bale. I paid $140 per bale and could only buy 20. I jumped at the hay available, because there is so little. There won't be much grain either and those that have stockpiled grain will be like the grass farmers and seize the opportunity to make a lot more money than usual.
But who really suffers the most? The small farmers who depend on hay to winter their animals, and here that is at least 7 if not 8 months of the year are the hardest hit. Most do not have extra money to cover the cost of feed and are forced to disperse their animals. The auctions and feed lots are taking advantage of the availability of quality animals for less money. The farmer loses again. I had purchased 10 bales of hay and 10 bales of green feed, which is grain that is not ripe, but seed heads have started to form. The entire plant is harvested, not just the seeds and baled like hay. Cows love this feed, but sheep and goats do not, though they will eat it rather than starve. Therin lies yet another problem. The winter is the time when the animals are bred, pregnant and are carrying babies. They require more feed to stay warm and grow healthy offspring. Some farmers will be forced to feed straw, though because of the short grain, there won't be straw either.
Hay is being trucked in from other provinces or even the USA. The last cost was $325 a bale. The government has promised aid to farmers, but not little farmers like me, only to big farmers. Litlle farmers are simply expected to either sell off their stock or go into debt or spend their savings. Fortunately for me, my next door neighbour is a really nice man. He cut his hay field and has only a few cows, so will have extra hay, which he has offered to me for a great price, so good in fact, I am trying to sell the 20 bales of hay I bought to use the money for the hay from my neighbour. He was so kind as to bring 8 bales free to see how it is for sheep and goats. They are eating it very well, so I can report to him that it works well for this farm. His mercy is much appreciated. He is a small farmer but has a very good paying job elsewhere as many farmers do to survive.
How will the world be fed in the future? If small farms are forced out, then the big conglomerates can feed the population anything they produce, for it will be all there is. I urge you to support your small farmers, wherever you are, so that in your own future, you have a choice of foods. Please buy local right from the farm if you can and continue to ensure diversity, especially in this trying time of need. Thank you.