UNDATED (WJON News) - After a dry summer, hay and silage stocks are higher than anticipated.

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The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates the 2023 hay yields to be slightly larger than 2022 crops, but warns the drought will significantly reduce yields in Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.

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Tyler Rice is an Extension Educator in Benton County. He says this year’s hay crop was able to find moisture.

Alfalfa actually comes from the Middle East originally, and so it already has some drought tolerance built in. It has very deep tap roots. It can pull moisture from the subsoil, but when the moisture in the subsoil ran out, the crops suffered.

In addition, the corn silage crop is exceeding expectations. Rice says the new corn silage varieties are more suited to a challenging environment.

Our corn varieties are (better than) what they used to be, and so they stood up to the drought pretty well considering the kind of drought we had.

The National Ag Statistics Service reports Minnesota planted 1.26 million acres of hay in 2023, up 40,000 acres from 2022. Harvested alfalfa is estimated to be 700,000 acres, with other hay crops estimates at 560,000 acres.

Graph: N.A.S.S.
Graph: N.A.S.S.
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