Hay shortage in the Midwest leads to surging prices for horse owners

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RAYMORE, Mo. -- The price of hay has tripled for a lot of horse and livestock owners. Hay bales that usually cost $40 are now $150.

That's because there's a shortage in the region. The Midwest hay shortage is said to be the result of 2018 wildfires in Kansas, drought in Missouri and wet weather in Iowa.

As a result local stables are having to go to Oklahoma, even as far as Tennessee, to find hay.

It's forced the owner of Kidz Discovery Ranch in Raymore to turn away people who want to board their horses there for fear he'll run out of hay. Some horse owners are simply giving away their horses because they can't afford to feed them.

"I've had some of my friends come by and pick up a couple round bales because they just didn't have any, and at one point I was feeding all square bales in the pasture," Johnnie Smith said.

Smith hasn't raised prices he passes along to boarders as a result so far, like some others, but it's taken a 30% bite out of his budget. He goes through 5000 square bales a year, and 12 of those round bales per month.

He has just one round bale left and is just hoping the grass grows soon.

Hay producers usually do their first cuttings in mid to late June, which could help ease the shortage. Conditions are looking better this year, except for portions along the Missouri River where flooding could wipe out the year's crop.

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