After last year’s drought, North Dakota producers grateful for bumper hay crop this year

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 12:05 PM CDT
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FLASHER, N.D. (KFYR) – Last year’s drought isn’t something anyone will soon forget.

But wetter conditions this year, especially in the spring, have led to better crops, and that’s helping some producers put 2021 out of their minds.

One farmer near Flasher says he’s especially noticed the difference between last year and this year on one hay field where he’s now working on a second cutting.

This might be Dar Schmidt’s best hay field

“It’s a unique piece of land and it’s been pretty productive,” the Flasher farmer said.

This is the second time he’s made hay on this field this summer. He planted rye on this ground last fall and made that into hay in June. Then, Schmidt planted sorghum. He’s making that into hay now.

“It worked out good,” he said.

He’s averaging about four bales an acre — a welcome sight after last year’s drought.

“Last year was quite a bit drier. It’s definitely better than last year. We’ve got way more bales than we had last year,” Schmidt recalled.

Schmidt says spring rains are to thank; it’s been dry here for the past few months.

“We haven’t had rain since early July,” he said.

Still, he’s happy to get two cuttings from this field. He’ll use these bales to feed his 300 head of cattle this winter. And while he may have more than he needs, he’ll keep the extras as a sort of insurance because he knows just how unpredictable the weather in North Dakota can be.

The state ag department has a hay hotline they open when lots of producers are looking for hay or have a lot to sell. It was especially busy during last year’s drought.

So far this year, the department has only received five calls about hay, so the hotline has not been activated.