Unfavorable forage growing conditions this past year have livestock producers in several regions of the state scrambling to fill their hay sheds. To help locate hay sources, producers have been utilizing the Missouri Hay Directory and Hay Hotline. At this time, more than 60 hay producers from throughout Missouri have listings in the directory.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has been fielding numerous calls on its hay hotline and extra traffic on its Web site this past fall. "We've received some 160 calls and mailed out more than 100 hay directories since the first of September," reports Mark Murphy of the MDA Ag Business Development office.
The Missouri Hay Directory link has been busy since June, receiving the second most hits on the MDA Web site. In September, it received 11,167 hits; in October, 12,064 hits; and so far in November almost 6,000 hits. That is up considerably from 2006, when MDA had 9,368 hits on its Hay Directory link from August through October.
"The most recent demand on the Hay Hotline has come from livestock producers in southeast Missouri," Murphy says. "Going into the winter months, it looks like southwest Missouri has a surplus of hay at this time, while the eastern side of Missouri is below average. Hay supplies in surrounding states are being utilized, but high transportation costs are still an obstacle.
The Department encourages producers with hay for sale to contact the Missouri Hay Hotline at 1-800-877-4HAY (4429) to list their hay in the Missouri Hay Directory. In addition, producers looking to purchase hay can call the hotline to request a copy of the directory or visit the following Web sites: