The 2012 Tennessee Hay Directory is available to help livestock producers source locally grown forages. The directory is produced through a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and provides a listing of hay available for sale by county.
"With record temperatures and drought conditions, many Tennessee livestock producers are feeding hay at a time when they are normally cutting it for winter use," state Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. "Although this is a service that we provide every year, it will be particularly helpful to farmers this year who are looking to buy or sell hay."
The directory is available by visiting the Farm Bureau's website at www.tnfarmbureau.org. Farmers with hay available for sale may place information in the Tennessee Hay Directory by downloading an application or by calling the Tennessee Farm Bureau at 931-388-7872 Ext. 2220
Also in response to the dire conditions, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam issued last week issued an executive order that allows haulers of hay to carry larger loads as long as they observe other safety requirements.
The order allows for an increase in gross vehicle weight to 95,000 pounds, not exceeding 20,000 pounds per axle load, for semi-truck/trailers. The order also increases the height of trailer loads to 13 feet, 6 inches and the width to a maximum of 14 feet during daylight hours. The increase in width allows haulers to transport standard six- to seven-foot round hay bales side by side, increasing the capacity being hauled per truck without a permit.
The order is valid for 60 days and expires on September 8.
The hay directory provides information on hay quantity, variety and bale type. Growers listed in the directory may also list hay quality, including percent of dry matter, protein and other nutritional values as tested through the University of Tennessee Extension.
Since 2005, the department has helped farmers increase their hay and feed capacity and improve operations by providing cost-share funding for nearly 5,000 hay barns, 12,000 hay rings, 200 commodity sheds, 600 feed bins and 1,150 specialty farm projects that include irrigation systems, greenhouses and other management practices.
"Farmers are already involved in feeding this spring's cutting of hay and with the weather outlook still remaining very dry, hay is becoming in short supply," Tennessee Farm Bureau president Lacy Upchurch said. "We urge any farmers with hay to sell to please download an application on the Tennessee Hay Directory site or call the Tennessee Farm Bureau now. The drought is starting to take its toll on hay supplies for our livestock producers."
Tennessee is a major producer of hay, which is used to support the state's $1.3 billion livestock industry. In 2011, Tennessee farmers produced an estimated 3.9 million tons of hay valued at more than $332 million. Hay cutting began earlier than normal this year due to the warm spring, but many farmers have reported reduced hay yields in areas where rainfall has been inadequate.