South Hadley farm struggling with hay crop due to inconsistent weather conditions

The recent severe rain has been hard on farmers growing hay at local dairy farms.
Published: Jul. 19, 2023 at 12:57 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2023 at 1:37 PM EDT
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SOUTH HADLEY, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The recent severe rain has been hard on farmers growing hay at local dairy farms.

Recent heavy rainfall and flooding has caused destruction to some local farms Now, a shortage of hay is a concern among local dairy farmers. For Steve McCray, owner of McCray’s Country Creamery and Farm in South Hadley, it has been an up and down year when it comes to hay.

“We need either three or four days of sunshine to make hay, and from the beginning of May to June 10 or whatever, we had a lot of sun. We were able to make a lot of hay.” McCray said.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said ever since. While the hay fields have not been flooded in the recent severe weather, the farm has been struggling to string hay together for the cows. McCray believes there were only two instances when he got three straight days of sunshine since June 10. The longtime farmer told Western Mass News cows need hay to help produce milk for dairy products, especially a fan-favorite: ice cream.

“We’re trying to balance their diet and hay is fiber,” McCray explained. “It helps to ruminate their stomach and it keeps them healthy.”

While the torrential downpours have been painful for the farm to gather hay, McCray said business has still been going steady in spite of it.

“Ice cream will sell best when it’s...upper 70s or something like that. Once you get to the mid 80s, 90, and above, people are sitting in their pools, they’re going to the river, they’re sitting in their air conditioning.” McCray noted.

For the time being, McCray is not concerned about hayrides leading up to the fall, but is hoping for drier weather to get more hay to the cattle. However, he also said some other crops could use more sunlight.

“The pumpkins are hurting at this point. They’re not dead, but they could use some nice, dry stretch with a little wind and a little breeze.” McCray stated.

McCray explained that if Mother Nature cooperates moving forward, then everything will be fine.