Cattle Farmers struggle with hay shortage in Northeast Alabama

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Dry conditions in Northeast Alabama have some cattle farmers worried about their hay supply to feed their cows. Some farmers said the grass just hasn't been growing to harvest any.

Local Cattle Farmer Randy Moody said he's tying to make sure his cattle don't go hungry during the winter months. Moody said four of five counties have been declared disasters from the Farm Service Administration.

"We like to go into the winter months with five rolls or hay, big 1,500 pounds of hay for each cow, this year we have about half of that," Moody said.

Regional Extension Agent for Animal Science and Forages Gerry Thompson said hay is normally harvested in May and saved for the winter.

'People have to remember agriculture is by far the biggest industry in the state of Alabama, beef cattle represents one of the biggest parts behind poultry and forestry," Thompson said.

Moody has planted ryegrass and hopes rain will come sometime in the future. He said the ryegrass will help them save them from using hay during the January, February, and March.

He said a typical cow needs 30 pounds of dry matter a day to eat, so with his 50 cows that's 1,500 pounds of hay needed for the winter months.