Osceola County Farmers Predict Good-Quality Hay Harvest

"Make hay while the sun shines, is the slogan they give you."

Northern Michigan hay farmers say their crop is looking better than it has in years.

Farmers are wrapping up their first hay cuts of the season.

The harvest is looking more promising since 2012.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Blakeman headed to the fields and have more details on why this year is so different.

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"Every day is a new challenge of what the weather is going to do," says Gary Carmichael, hay farmer in Osceola County.

Fields are full of hay all over Northern Michigan and, right now, things are going well.

"We’ve got a good first cutting crop of hay," says Jerry Lindquist, Osceola County Agricultural Educator. "Yields are good and quality is at least average, if not above average."

In 2012, hay harvests endured a drought.

This year, prices are finally getting back to normal.

"Our supply of hay across the Midwest, because of the dry years, the drought years, was low. prices were higher," Lindquist says. "We’re finally recovering from that and some other factors, too."

Carmichael says, like other farmers, the slogan goes: ‘Make hay while the sun shines.’"

"We have all different types of hay, everything from pure alfalfa to pure grass," Carmichael says.

Gary’s hay is moving right along — all 2,000 acres of it.

"It’s going to be a good crop," Carmichael. "With that large supply out there. The prices are a little bit lower than they are other years because of the large quantity,"

But as supplies stockpile, so do concerns.

"We’ve got some lower commodity prices for our dairy producers," Carmichael say. "The price of milk is lower. Price of meat products, meat proteins have fallen lower so that means demand for hay is declining, as well. We’ve got some farms that aren’t going to harvest fields just because they won’t be able to get rid of it."

If demand rises out-of-state, there is hope.

Farmers like Carmichael will rake on.

"If we can get an early start, it always helps," Carmichael says.

For more information on the overall status of the hay harvest, take a look at Jerry Lindquist’s report wit the MSU Extension.