Impact of Midwest Drought

Impact of Midwest Drought

This year’s drought has been likened as the worst since the 1950’s. Some even wonder if it’s the beginning of the next dust bowl. Even though the drought is mainly affecting growers in the Midwest, especially corn producers, farmers and ranchers here in the Pacific Northwest will undoubtedly feel its impact. Washington hay and wheat farmers will more than likely have a good season due to rising prices for their crops. Livestock producers on the other hand are going to see higher feed prices. Washington cattleman Jack Field comments.

FIELD: As the corn prices go up, hay prices run through the roof right closely behind, when corn goes up the cattle futures go down. I think that the corn markets are going to have a huge impact on what we’re going to be paying for feeder hay this upcoming winter. The value of all forages is going to increase proportionately as you take a look to a reduction in feed grain.

There are alternative feed sources to corn.

FIELD: With corn being one of the leading ingredients in a variety of livestock feeds, especially when it comes to finishing fed cattle, I think there’s going to be a real focus made to look outside the box. One of the benefits I think we certainly will have in the Pacific Northwest is our diversity and our ability to utilize other feed sources. We’ve got a variety of potato processing plants that provide some very high quality feed to feedlots throughout central Washington. That gives us a great opportunity and a great advantage. We’re not strictly reliant upon corn.

I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network. 

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