East Tennessee farmers running out of hay to feed cattle

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

(WVLT) After last year's cattle sell-off due to the drought, farmers are heading back to the market as several farmers are running out of hay to feed their stock.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb kicked the mud off his boots and has more.

Now in the peak of hay feeding season before the spring, some farmers are finding they're going to run out.

With record prices for hay, some are selling off most of their herd.

At Jim Rogers farm in rural Sevier county, there's plenty of land for cattle, but nothing to feed them.

He's down to his final rolls of hay and is bringing in two more head to market in the hopes of making it to spring.

"All together I'd say I've sold thirty. And you have how many left? Nine."

With dwindling hay supplies for farmers, the Knoxville Livestock Center looks to see as many as 1,600 head sold this week, a thirty to forty percent increase above normal.

Jason Bailey says, "if people keep feeding hay like they are, the next few weeks we may see even more than that."

Some are hoping for the best with what they've got.

James Guinn, who is running out of hay says, "it's going to be scarce. It's going to be tight."

While a few are buying hay to make it through the rest of the winter.

Sam Rankin, paying record prices for hay says, "buying hay from out of state we probably will but other than that if we didn't do that we wouldn't have enough hay."

But buying out of state hay is at record high prices, as much as 120 dollars a bale.

Rogers continues, "I don't want to run out, you know. Hay is too high to buy. You can't pay what they're wanting for it."

So for Jim Rogers, these last few bales of hay are going to have to do the job, it's make it to spring or bust.

"If I run out, I'm just going to sell the rest of them."

More bad news for those farmers selling their cattle, corn prices are at an all time high too.

Market manager Jason Bailey says corn is what those feeder cattle eat after they are purchased, so buyers are not wanting to pay too much for the cattle.


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