As if the drought and reduced crop yields haven't been challenging enough for livestock farmers, there is a new threat that is popping up across rural Iowa—hay theft. Hay prices are high and demand is strong for drought-reduced supplies this winter. The Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers has received numerous reports of hay being stolen across the state and reminds farmers to be vigilant in monitoring their farms as well as their neighbor's farms.
"We are getting reports from farmers who've had hay stolen, hay that they are relying on to feed their livestock," says Brian Waddingham, executive director of CSIF. "Some report single round bales disappearing, some have had entire semi-loads of round bales and some have had flat racks loaded with small square bales stolen. The loss of a semi-load of round bales, which can approach $200 per bale, has serious consequences for not only the farmer's livestock but his bottom line as well."
Common sense things you can do to prevent hay from being stolen
As commodity prices continue rising every farmer should think about how and where they store their feedstuffs. This includes not only corn and soybeans, but hay as well. Farmers should also evaluate what security measures they have in place to deter would-be thieves. "If farmers don't have a plan in place, we encourage them to give us a call to discuss options for their operation," says Waddingham.
He reminds farmers to "store hay close to your farmstead where you can better monitor it. If hay must stay in the field, put a gate across the field entrance and lock it. It's also a good idea to talk to your neighbors and advise them that if they observe suspicious activity at odd hours to have them contact the sheriff's department immediately to report it." For more information call 800-932-2436 or visit the CSIF website.
Hay prices are soaring as hay supplies are tight and buyers bidding strongly
"Hay supplies are tight and buyers are bidding strongly," says Dale Leslein, manager of the weekly hay auction at Dyersville in northeast Iowa. "We've had to turn away some of our long-distance customers because we couldn't fill their orders."