Hay alternatives can feed cattle in drought

The Associated PressAugust 28, 2007 

— The use of soybean hay and cornstalks by farmers in Eastern North Carolina could help ease a cattle feed shortage in the mountains.

The drought has prevented soybeans from growing well in the eastern portion of the state, but they're still useful as hay. Cornstalks from the eastern region can also be used for feed.

That's positive news for farmers in the western part of the state, which faces a much more severe drought. Cattle farmers in the West are short 800,000 rolls of hay for the winter, and they're scrambling to find an ample supply.

Perry Morrow, a Haywood County cattle farmer, said he's about 170 hay rolls short of the 400 he needs to get through the winter. He has already marked some of his 200 head for sale.

Still, Morrow said would like to keep as many as is financially feasible. He supports the idea of getting feed alternatives from across the state, but he worries about the cost.

"The transportation cost is going to be kind of rough," Morrow said of the hay alternatives plan, which was discussed Friday by about 150 growers in Waynesville at a state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services event.

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