PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – The drought conditions that have been in effect across much of Colorado this year have created a hay shortage, and theft of hay has become a problem.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture said last month that more than 60 percent of the state is experiencing extreme drought. There wasn’t much snowpack this winter, and there hasn’t been much rain, and many hay fields rely soley on rain to grow. Hay prices in Colorado and other parts of the Rockies as a result are at historic highs.
Herman Schacht has owned Parker Feed and Western Supply for more than 40 years. He says he now has to buy hay from other states like Montana, and that drives the price up even more because trucks have to haul it across state lines, and transportation and freight costs have gone up.
“I don’t like (the reports of theft) because I know how much of a burden it is to the people who buy it,” Schacht said. “It’s getting close to personal, you’re taking feed out of the horse’s mouth.”
Despite the weight of hay bales (Schacht says some of his bales weigh as much as 1,300 pounds) thieves in Larimer County have hit at least a handful of times, most recently stealing $5,000 worth while hot wiring heavy farm equipment to move it.
In Arapahoe County similar thefts have happened.
The warning is going out to keep hay locked up tight, inside if possible and out of easy reach.