While watering lawns less can be done to conserve water during a drought, using less water isn’t always possible in agricultural operations. As water availability dwindles, some farmers are noticing decreases in their agricultural outputs.
Troy Forest is the Director of Grazing Improvement at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and said the drought has been negatively impacting animal agriculture in Utah for over a year now.
“Many cow-calf pairs are going for sale right now, which is not the typical season they would be sold in because guys are out of feed and hay costs have gone through the roof," said Forest. "Feeder hay is over $200 a ton, good quality hay is approaching $300 a ton and maybe more and in some instances. So, it's affecting animal agriculture pretty much statewide.”
He said an acre of land that could produce 1000 pounds of forage on a normal year may only produce 200 pounds right now because of the drought, which impacts how many animals can be fed.
With water levels affecting hay quantities, farmers such as Aysha Maddox of Maddox Family Farm are hoping they are able to grow enough feed to make it through the year.
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