Livestock farmers struggle with high hay prices - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Livestock farmers struggle with high hay prices

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APPLETON (WKOW) -- A shortage of hay nationwide, including Wisconsin, has state dairy farmers paying more than they ever have to feed their animals.

Zen Miller, a state dairy and livestock agent in Outagamie County, says hay is going for between $300 and $400 a ton. That's 50 to 100-percent higher than normal.

Dairy farmer Mark Petersen says he felt like he had to pay $300 a ton because he's afraid the ice covering his alfalfa may kill it.

"We don't quite know if there's going to be a winter kill or not, so I'm going to buy a little bit, just as a cushion to make sure we've got some elbow room in case I have to reseed any amount," says Petersen.

Miller says the hay prices may convince some state dairy farmers to retire a few years earlier than they planned.

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