Rainfall Economics

No rain for 52 days. No grass growing for about 40 of those days. Feeding hay to cows and goats for 20 days now. We’re making plans for hay feeding into next April, and cost overruns are going to happen.

Agriculture is the original boom and bust economy. The boom years are great, the bust years are not. When you can’t grow grass, you feed hay. The hay economy is largely local because hay bales are bulky and heavy to move over the road.

I made a drive to Lufkin this week and noticed many trailers loaded with hay headed back into the DFW area. Our local hay retailer is selling out of every trailer load within two days at double the price per bale as last year.

 Trying to build a solution for the future, last year I set up a handshake agreement with a baler 2 miles from our farm. When we talked this summer to schedule a pickup, he replied that he was in Houston riding his bike because the grass turned to dust and wouldn’t bale. “If anyone tells you farming is a good way to make great money, they been lying to you!” He says.

So we get connected through church with someone who does hay 40 miles away. Make some deals and pay for the delivery included. His seventeen year old son makes the delivery and is far above his peers in maturity and capability. We’re looking forward to what ours will be like at that age . The last load he has available unloaded this past Sunday morning. Thanks to his abilities we have hay to get to Thanksgiving. But what about the actual winter?

Hay is often cut again in August for a second cut, keeping the market filled and ready for winter. But without rain, there’s not going to be a second cut of hay. Might could be one if it rains solid in August for an October cutting. Demand will be very high. Prices will be very high from fuel costs and fertilizer costs being through the roof right now.

Inflation takes time to move from producers to consumers. Because cattle are being culled to cut costs, beef will be cheaper at the store for the next few months. Starting next year expect a whiplash where beef will cost more, double triple range. Inflation and reduced supply are inevitable.

Solution? Buy a freezer, meet a farmer, put beef away today. Buy the dip!

The little spider was eaten by the large spider. My zoology contacts say it’s likely the female ate the male. Doesn’t sound good to me, but the garden moves forward without Mr. Arachnid.