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Hay Growers Move Bales Ahead of Incoming Storm

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, June 4, 2012

The threat of unseasonable rains have spurred growers to action sooner than they would have liked.  Many spent early Monday getting bales on trucks or under tarps before the rain could get the hay wet and increase the mold content.

Thousands of bales of hay have been in the fields around Sacramento for about a week.  The unseasonably wet weather forced Rafael Saldana to move his heavy equipment off of a field of 300 large bales and to a field of 1500 small bales.  Saldana co-owns Saldana Brothers in Woodland.  He worries less about the affect of the rain on the large bales.

SALDANA: "All the rain gonna hurt the hay, but no make too much damage to this one because it goes to the dairies. The dairies: the cows eat everything and the horses: is more picky picky."

Hay bales typically bought by horse owners are sold in the smaller, 100-pound bales.  Moldy hay can cause respiratory ailments and organ damage in horses. 

Dennis Berlin works for Saldana Brothers. He says buyers aren't ready for the bales yet, and his employer may have to sell at a discounted rate.  It's the second time this year the weather has affected the crop.

BERLIN: "In May, we got really hot weather and so we couldn't get it all off in time. It all turned dry.  So, now it's dry.  All the seed fell on the ground.  It's not green.""

Berlin says the average cost for a bail will probably drop by 35 percent. 
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