WACONIA, Minn. - The cold and snowy winter might be behind us, but the pains of the season past is still being felt on farms across the Midwest.
Crops like alfalfa are struggling in some parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin and that could have a trickle-down effect reaching all the way down to household budgets.
"Our clients are mostly about 60 percent horse clients and 40 percent dairy clients," said Bill Lueth, a farmer west of Waconia.
While the price of hay could see a dramatic increase, so too could the price of milk and meat. Experts say it's just too early to say if that will indeed be the case.
The struggles for crops like alfalfa crop are due to the winter freeze. There was early snow, followed by a thaw and then a sudden drop in temperature in January. That turned the snow into an icy blanke of sorts.
"That combination just smothered out some of the alfalfa," he said. "It's actually a live plant it has to have respiration and it has to have air."
At a neighboring farm, the crop is better, but slow to grow. Experts say it survived because the alfalfa was planted recently and harvested only three times last year.
Just how much of the overall crop they'll be able to harvest this year will be determined by the future forecast, but this is not a good start.
Lueth says no matter what happens there is certainly going to be less hay available and those who need to feed their animals will face challenges to secure it.
"That's a major financial burden for livestock producers and that is something they may even want to go to their local FSA office to see what's available in some disaster relief or loans," said Jim Paulson, of the University of Minnesota Extension office.
"As I've always said, we're in the risk business. You don't know what you get from year to year. You do the best job you can," said Lueth.
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