Auctions Help Kentucky Producers Find Much-Needed Hay

In a year where supplies are tight, hay at two University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service auctions sold for nearly double the typical price.

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hay shortage
Producers bid on hay during the 2019 Tri-County Hay and Straw Auction in Metcalfe County, Kentucky. | Photo: Kevin Lyons, Monroe County agriculture and natural resources extension agent
In a year where hay supplies are tight, University of Kentucky (UK) Cooperative Extension Service auctions have provided an important link for producers seeking forages to buy.

“We are having a huge hay shortage,” said Brandon Bell, Metcalfe County agriculture and natural resources extension agent. “Our producers were running out of hay in mid-January where normally they would start running low in mid-March.”

Supplies are limited due to the record-breaking rainfall Kentucky received during the past year. Producers faced wet conditions at all stages of hay production. They cut hay late, or they harvested it on time but it rained before they could package it. The winter’s abundant rainfall is also increasing livestock’s energy requirements and, to compensate, they are consuming more hay than usual.

Each year, Bell, along with Chris Schalk and Kevin Lyons, who are agriculture and natural resources extension agents in Barren and Monroe counties, and the Metcalfe County Fair Board organize the Tri-County Hay and Straw Auction. While the auction has occurred for several years, producers came from across the region and Middle Tennessee to purchase hay this year

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