At Palmer's Feed & Supply, the General Manager said, for the first time she can remember in 20 years, the prices of protein are $40 to $60 per ton higher in the summer months than in the winter months.
"In 20 years, this is one of the first times I ever remember seeing a higher priced protein going into the spring," said Bridget Scott. "It's a little bit here and there but... it's been very noticeable and you haven't seen it slack off."
The lack of significant rainfall means there is less pasture grass so ranchers and farmers are trying to make up the difference by purchasing more feed and hay for livestock.
"Normally, it's coming down October through March, usually your highest price on meal because of lack of rain.. people still trying to hold onto animals. Historically, this is not what you usually see," continued Scott.
Both landowners with acres of land and those with just one acre, are buying supplemental food for their livestock. Usually, only landowners with smaller acreage of land purchase supplemental food in the summer.
"A lot of people are feeding through the drought. People with small acreage especially are having to provide a grain source or a roughage source along with some kind of supplementation," stated Scott.
Scott said the biggest change is the 20 to 30 percent increase in the number of round hay bales being sold. Usually, at this time of year, cattle, sheep, and goats are grazing on pasture; but, because of the drought, round hay bales are need instead.
Yet, there may be a bit of good news. She said protein prices should lower again in the fall.
"You can see protein factor lower coming into the fall than they are right now," Scott finished.
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