Drought hits hay crops, livestock owners
Farmers in the Ottawa region are sounding the alarm over the dwindling supply and rising price of hay.
The current drought has been tough on feed crops, and that could be bad news for anyone with livestock.
In 35 years of farming near North Gower, Van McCordick says he's never seen it this dry.
"We need a lot of rain, there's cracks in the ground that you can put your hand in."
That means McCordick's hay crop — normally good for two or even three cuts over the summer — is likely finished.
"Right now, we've taken off the first cut, and there will be virtually no second cut available at all, because it's so dry," he said.
In one of McCordick’s sheds, small square bales fill a wagon. Larger round ones line one wall. That's all that's left for McCordick's customers, who are mainly horse owners. So he's calling to warn them.
"Just be aware that there will be a shortage of hay this fall, and just be prepared for it."
That's more bad news for Joanna MacDonald, who boards about 18 horses at nearby Spiritwood Farm. Recently, her well ran dry for the first time in 42 years — now this.
"I have enough now to last probably through August, and after that we start screaming for help, you know," MacDonald said.
McCordick said hay prices will inevitably rise, as what's in storage now becomes more valuable. But, he said, he's not about to gouge longtime customers like MacDonald.
So this long, hot summer could be a lean one for him too.