A summer of drought that wilted pastures and alfalfa fields has spawned record high-hay prices this fall and looming shortages to feed cattle this winter. The dairy industry is feeling the misery most keenly, with intense demand for top-quality hay at the same time milk prices are slipping.

Prices for dairy-quality hay have almost doubled compared with a year ago. Acreage numbers were already down because so many growers had plowed up alfalfa fields to plant high-priced corn crops this year. Then drought further cut hay production.

Many Kansas growers sent much of their hay to drought-plagued Texas and Oklahoma where prices were highest.

That has left Kansas cattlemen scrambling to finding enough hay to feed this winter. PD


—AP newswire report