WINDSOR, Colo. (CBS4) – Firefighters spent Wednesday morning fighting a barn fire northeast of Windsor.
The fire destroyed a barn with 100 tons of hay located near County Road 21 and Highway 392. The owners also stored a couple of horse-drawn carriages in the barn and those were also destroyed.
There were no injuries.
The Henry family told CBS4 the hay was being used for feeding horses they use for their horse-drawn carriage business. Right now there is a national shortage of hay and it’s become very expensive.
“Some people can’t even get what they need,” Darin Henry with Mountain Shadow Carriages said.
The Henrys got their newest delivery of the hot commodity just Tuesday. Now they’ll have to go hay hunting again at a time when livestock owners across Colorado are preparing for a winter’s worth of feeding.
“Everybody’s in a tight spot this year and we still got to feed. It doesn’t go away,” Henry said.
Hay broker Kevin Martin says he’s been in the hay business for 25 years. He’s said he’s now watching bale upon bale leave or pass through Colorado.
“(It’s) going to Texas and other states that are in a dry part of the season — drought. They’re paying a lot of money for it and we can hardly compete with that around here, so a lot of people are getting rid of their livestock because it’s so expensive,” Martin said.
Martin said the southbound interstates like Interstate 25 have become a “hay highway” with 18-wheelers heading to places like Texas and Oklahoma where drought has withered grazing land and driven up the price of hay.
“I’m going to be sold out of hay and people will be calling me and I don’t even know where to look unless I go as lot farther away from home and that’s not really feasible,” Martin said.
The USDA says nationally the price of hay is up more than 50 percent compared to this time last year. Martin says another reason there’s less hay this year is that many farmers saw the high corn prices and planted corn instead of alfalfa.
Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire. It knocked out power to the town of Severance and part of Windsor for a time Wednesday morning.