County AG Report: Hay Production
EASTON, Maine (WAGM) - After the rain last weekend, grass has been growing and hay production is underway in parts of the county. This season’s above average rainfall looks to help production after drought conditions in 2020 and 2021 had an impact on those hay crops. Rob Koenig has more in this week’s County Ag Report.
Hay production is a crucial part of the agricultural community here in Aroostook County. Cody Tompkins knows this firsthand having lived in the county his entire life. When the pandemic and drought conditions made it difficult for his neighbors to find hay for their livestock, Tompkins founded The County Hay Company.
“When I moved to our farm 3 years ago, we had some neighbors that were in need of hay. I kind of saw an opportunity with that. We started with 150 acres that first year, and it’s grown to about over 400 now.”
Having started his business during a drought, Tompkins didn’t realize the lack of production in his fields compared to a year with normal rainfall. While this year has brought more rain, Tompkins says he really needs a mixture of both dry stretches and rainfall for the best hay production.
“Some sunshine would really be nice at this point too to help dry out some of the fields. The yields look really great, a lot better than the last two years coming off a drought, so I think that we should have a really good crop this year, and like I said hopefully we just have some good weather to be able to make the hay.”
Tompkins went on to say some of his fields still have some water and mud patches. He says while it’s still a bit early for haying to begin and doesn’t expect it to pick up until early July, getting some drier weather over the next couple weeks will help with the first cut of the season. Tompkins stresses the importance of the hay industry to the community.
“It’s really great to bring awareness to the hay industry. I know that there’s a lot of agricultural sectors up here in the county, but certainly hay serves a big need.”
Tompkins hopes that with the drier weather forecasted this weekend, farmers and the industry overall will see ideal conditions for a great crop.
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