Hay is a type of animal feed that is produced by using herbaceous plants such as legumes or grass. The plants are cut up, dried, and stored for later use. Some of the animals that feed on hay include horses, sheep, and cattle. Animals can feed on hay for a variety of reasons such as poor weather and insufficient pasture in the fields. In the US, hay forms an essential component of livestock feed and is grown in several states such as Texas, Kansas, California, and Missouri. Many of the states where vast quantities of hay are grown also have a vibrant livestock industry.
In 2016, according to data from Statista, Texas produced more hay than any other state in the US. Texan farmers produced nearly 12.5 million tons of hay in 2016. One of the main reasons why Texas produces vast quantities of hay is due to the large livestock industry in the state. Texas is the leading livestock producer in the US. Several hay varieties are cultivated in Texas with some of the most well-known varieties being Sudan hay, Bermuda Hay, Coastal hay, and alfalfa hay. Most farmers in Texas grow hay for their personal use, but a significant number grow hay for sale. One of the Texan companies that produce hay for sale is the Bradshaw Hay Company which specializes in Coastal Hay.
In 2016, California produced the second largest amount of hay in the US. California farmers produced approximately 6.6 million tons of hay in 2016. The Californian livestock industry depends to a large extent on hay to supplement other feeds and improve the quality of their animals. Some of the hay varieties grown in California include Oat hay, Teff Grass hay, Sudan hay, and alfalfa hay.In California, alfalfa, one of the principal crops in the production of hay, mainly grows in the northern and southern ends of the state. Farmers consider the alfalfa grown in the northern limits of the state to be of a higher quality than alfalfa grown anywhere else in California. Some of the companies that sell hay in California include Musgrave Hay Sales, Hay Valley Mart, and North Bay Hay & Grain which specializes in hay made from alfalfa, orchard grass or rye.
In 2016, Kansas was the third highest hay producing state in the US as it produced approximately 6.2 million tons of hay. Hay is considered to be one of the most important crops in Kansas. The state has a thriving hay industry mainly due to the presence of a successful livestock industry. Data indicates that the revenue from cattle production in Kansas accounted for close to 60% of the revenue from all agricultural activities. Some of the hay varieties grown in Kansas include alfalfa hay and prairie hay.
The Significance Of Hay
Hay is vital to livestock for some reasons with one of the main ones being that it provides essential nutrients to the animals. Another reason why hay is essential is that it is convenient especially during bad weather when animals cannot be taken to graze.
Top 10 Hay Producing US States
|Hay production in 2016 (in 1,000 tons)