Cool spring temperatures delay grazing, hay crop

WICHITA, Kansas (AP) – Cool spring temperatures in Kansas are squeezing drought-weary cattle producers even further by delaying the growth of pasture grasses and the first cutting of alfalfa fields.

Steve Hessman, hay market reporter for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s office in Dodge City, says development of all forage grasses is running almost three weeks behind normal.

That means the grass in pastures has not grown enough for ranchers to turn their cattle out to graze as usual. Some ranchers in western Kansas and eastern Colorado are running out of winter-stockpiled hay to feed their cattle and have begun selling off some animals again.

The hard freeze earlier this month also nipped alfalfa fields and damaged winter wheat crops in parts of southwest and west-central Kansas.

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