With brutal cold across much of the Midwest, cattle, sheep and horses chewed through more hay than normal in late January and early February.
Even before the Arctic blast, hay supplies were limited.
The Feb. 8 USDA Hay Stocks report indicated all hay stored on U.S. farms as of Dec. 1, 2018, totaled 79.1 million tons, down 6 percent from the previous December 1.
Disappearance from May 1 to Dec. 1, 2018, totaled 59.9 million tons, compared with 68.2 million tons for the same period one year earlier.
The USDA reported this marked the lowest Dec. 1 hay stocks since the drought of 2012, and the second lowest since 1977.
The report also indicated the significantly below-normal January temperatures were mostly limited to the upper Great Lakes States. Meanwhile, monthly temperatures averaged at least 5 degrees F above normal across parts of the West and the northern High Plains.
The following are hay stocks on farms for selected states: Dec. 1, 2017 and 2018:
Dec. 1, 2017
|Dec. 1, 2018|
|Idaho||2.2 million tons||2.4 million tons|
|Illinois||1.1 million tons||850,000 tons|
|Indiana||1.15 million tons||820,000 tons|
|Iowa||2.28 million tons||2.06 million tons|
|4.5 million tons||4.3 million tons|
|Minnesota||2.59 million tons||2.04 million tons|
|Missouri||5.1 million tons||4.2 million tons|
|Montana||3.65 million tons||4.2 million tons|
|Nebraska||4.18 million tons||4.5 million tons|
|North Dakota||3.25 million tons||4 million tons|
|South Dakota||5.15 million tons||5.35 million tons|
|Wisconsin||2.65 million tons||1.75 million tons|