Hay shortage in the Midwest

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This spring has been tough for many farmers because of flooding.

Now the latest setback is a shortage of hay, an essential part of the diet for dairy and stock cows.

Cattle need alfalfa, found in hay, for protein and to produce high quality milk. They also digest it very well.

This year's hay supply is down 31.4% from the past five year's average.

"Our supply is depleted and our first crop isn't looking to good, in some areas its 100% winter kill, and they have absolutely no alfalfa," Steve Ollerich, President of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, said.

Farmers should be able to get out this month to harvest their first cuts of alfalfa, but it may be next year before the hay supply is fully restored.

Some farmers may need to turn to alternative feed sources for their cattle, like corn silage, small grains, and straw.