APPLEGATE VALLEY, Ore. — The dry weather that has stretched on for months has impacted hay producers who say they have had to irrigate much sooner than usual.
In a normal year, a field can produce three harvests of hay and ranchers irrigate after the first cut. This year, producers say they’re just hopeful to get two cuts and started irrigating on April 15th, and have yet to cut for the first time.
“Hay is getting spoken for pretty quickly around here. We raise predominantly orchard grass for horse customers and they’re getting pretty anxious too,” said ranch foreman Dana Wells.
Hay producers in the Applegate Valley said they’ve had less than a half inch of rain for the month of April. Producers said they typically need a ten day stretch of time to cut and bail their hay and will have to wait until the next dry spell to cut for the first time.