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Will the Long Winter Raise Beef Prices?

Posted at: 04/30/2013 10:36 PM
Updated at: 04/30/2013 10:45 PM
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

April snow kept local cattle from feeding on grass. Farmers said buying hay to get by is raising costs.

South Range farmers saw snow melt from their fields on Sunday, but that's weeks later than they expected. The weather has been tough on dairy farmer Nathan Johnstad.

“With the record snow fall just trying to get to the cattle was an interesting feat, and then with the hay shortage in the whole country with the drought this prior year it's been challenging,” Johnstad said.

He said his farm will have enough feed to get through until the grass starts to grow, but the lingering winter means cattle farmer Jim Dolsen needed more hay for his livestock.

To make matters worse Dolsen's fields have been wet and muddy longer than usual this spring. Because of that he said he has lost calves to disease.

Other farmers are facing the same problems, and that could lead to higher prices at the supermarket.

“There will be a shortage this fall again with cattle in general so I'm sure the price, the market is going to end up going up and you'll see it in the grocery stores and everywhere else,” Johnstad said.

That jump in beef prices might not hit until fall, but Johnstad said the long winter already caused problems for local farmers.

“Everything is so far behind right now. We're probably a month behind where we should be," Johnstad said.

This spring was a drastic change from last year. Farmers said things were much more green a year ago and many had extra hay left over.