Texas wildfires leave horse and cattle farmers without hay

POSTED: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 3:42pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 4:59pm

The wildfires in Texas have destroyed fields, and the heat drying any moisture needed to complete the hay process, leaving some Texans to find their way eastward to find hay for their horses and cattle.

"It's just like water, they've got to have this hay for roughage to eat and get them through the winter,” stated Tyson Waisuth. “The grain will keep them healthy and everything, but in a cold winter, it's the hay that keeps them warm."

Waisuth drove 285 miles from Canton, Texas to get his hay. He makes this trip at least once a week. Tyson says the Texas drought has forced him to sell off some of his herd; he stated with a herd of sixteen, and is now down to just six.

While Texan farmers are having problems producing hay, Louisiana hay farmers are having no problems at all. In fact they are profiting from it.

Danny Poole says he used to raise cows, but when the sugarcane market picked up, he lost the land he had been leasing. However, he kept his equipment, and boy is he grateful.

"Most of the hay produced over in Louisiana - a lot of it’s going to Texas now," said Poole. “On good weather, we will cut hay, start in the morning and let it dry for two days then we start bailing… (it’s a) non-stop operation."

It's not just Texans stocking up, Louisiana natives are getting hay now, and are worried about a shortage this winter.

"I'm here to pick up some hay because this winter (prices are) going to be real high,” said Martin Pitre, a Lake Charles man that raises horses. “I'm trying to get all I can right now."

As for Waisuth, he will continue to pay the round trip cost of $450 to bring hay back from Louisiana to Texas for both he and his neighbors.

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