By Connor Lynch
LISTOWEL — First cut was tricky for many farmers, but as second and third cut rolls out, hay season is looking good.
On Aug. 2, Western Ontario was leaps and bounds ahead of Eastern Ontario, where some farmers were still struggling with first cut, said Middlesex County beef farmers advisory councillor Jamie O’Shea.
Dairy farms throughout Western Ontario that got an early first cut would be on third cut by now, O’Shea told Farmers Forum. Dairy farmers were cutting as early as the end of May, with some drying issues, but that gave them an earlier window for second cut.
“If you didn’t do (first cut) in the first four days of June, you couldn’t do it until the last week of June,” said O’Shea. Yields and quality on hay are both good, said O’Shea; most farmers will have plenty of edible hay but little top-quality.
Top-quality hay is in short supply, though O’Shea said that beef and dairy farmers generally have plenty of decent hay for themselves. Farmers looking to buy hay will certainly be able to find it, he said. “There’s no panic,” quite unlike last year’s drought that stunted harvests.
Perth County dairy and hay farmer Dave Johnston, who farms with his brother Doug at Listowel, is pleased with his hay. First cut came off by June 10. “Excellent yield, excellent quality. But it all went for haylage because we can’t get it to dry,” Johnston said.
Although drying hay has been difficult, the situation is night and day from last year. “Our first cut (this year) yielded almost as much as four cuts last year,” Johnston said.