The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly 87% of Missouri is experiencing some form of dryness. Extreme drought is widening in the central part of the state and several areas are now in moderate to severe drought.

The state will allow haying along some state highways and waive permit fees to transport extra wide hay loads. The move aims to help Missouri’s livestock producers weather the drought while there’s a shortage of forage and pastureland.

At a Missouri Drought Assessment Committee meeting on Wednesday, Jeremy Moseley, with the Farm Service Agency, said hay production has not been great, especially in northeastern Missouri.

“We have a producer that hays on some Smithfield ground, 1000 acres. Over 23 million gallons of fluid spread on it,” he said. “Over the year, the hay is making 56% of normal.”

He said there are no carryover supplies from 2022 and producers are selling cattle.

“Several sale barns have now added sales in mid June to begin that movement,” said Moseley. “So I do think we’ll see a liquidation there that we haven’t seen, that we did see in the South last year.”

Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said water supplies will be the next issue if the drought continues.

“I think there’s a lot of potential for rain in the next seven to 14 days from what we heard from the National Weather Service. That key has me optimistic but I think we need to be extremely cautious in making sure that we’re paying attention to the impact long term,” said Chinn.

Missouri’s Drought Assessment Committee plans to submit its recommendations to address drought to Gov. Mike Parson by the end of this week. The group is expected to meet again in July.

Story courtesy of Carah Hart, Brownfield Ag News

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