By Connor Lynch
LISTOWEL — Hay season in Western Ontario was a classic case of the early bird getting the worm, said advisory councillor for the Middlesex Cattlemen’s Association Jamie O’Shea. There was an opportunity to make hay as early as May 24, said O’Shea, and “those are the people doing third cuts (as of July 26) and they’re getting good third cuts,” he told Farmers Forum.
Last year O’Shea said a deluge across the province saturated fields and kept some growers waiting through most of June for their fields to dry out. This year is nearly the opposite problem, except that O’Shea said that the hay coming off the fields is so high in quality that a lot of growers “don’t need the volume.”
Real Agriculture agronomist Peter Johnson said that first-cut hay in Western Ontario was “an amazing crop,” and that there were growers getting as much as six tonnes per acre of hay. Second-cut, however, has been “anywhere from average to essentially nonexistent.”
Hay prices, he added, “have not been nearly what they were in previous years.”
Dairy farmer Dave Johnston, of Listowel, said that if push comes to shove, he’ll look at other means of extending his feed, but he’s expecting a good third cut and doesn’t think he’ll need to buy more hay or supplement his supply.
His first cut was average on yield but good on quality. Second cut was good quality but only half the yield he usually gets. Johnston was on his first cut by June 1 and finished second cut by July 9. Since then, he’s gotten some rain, so he’s not worried about not being able to feed his cows.
“Third cut’s going to make up for it,” he said.