Cattle farmers search for feed solutions - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Cattle farmers search for feed solutions


Some local cattle farmers are showing their prize animals this week at the Lodi Fair. But their concern is high right now about how they are going to feed their animals through the winter.

"We're in the worst position today that we've been in about 30 years," said Terry Quam, fair president and owner of Marda Angus Farms in Lodi.

His herd normally grazes all summer, but they won't this year. The southern Wisconsin alfalfa crop is done and won't be back this season.

"All our grasses, all our legumes have died. Not died, but dried up," he said. "I would say most cattle producers that are running cows or any kind of animals on pasture are gonna be out of feed in the next 30 days."

That means beef and dairy farmers in the area may have to break into their winter supply by the end of the summer, and the extra hay they might need to buy for the winter will be costly.

With much of the nation experiencing a dry summer, hay prices are reportedly already up 65 to 100 percent higher than during a normal year.

"If you don't have a feed supply tied up right now, it's gonna be difficult," Quam said.

Quam says another option southern Wisconsin producers are looking at is moving their herds into northern Wisconsin, which has seen adequate rain and has better grazing land right now.

But he warns only so much pasture is available and the owners of that land know it's at a premium, so they can charge a premium price.

So, whether it's leasing expensive land or buying expensive feed, many southern Wisconsin farmers may find themselves in a pinch later this year, thanks to the drought.

"It's a question of can you afford it," Quam said. "It'll be that question for a lot of people. Can I afford to keep the animals?"



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