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Hay shortage affecting the cattle industry in Vermilion Parish

A hay shortage is affecting the cattle industry in Vermilion Parish. 

The parish is very dependent on their cattle industry, but the recent weather conditions have affected the harvest of hay, which in turn affects future years. 

"Low hay shortage can make people have to dump the cattle on the market. Dump their calves sooner than they want and get rid of cattle... get rid of big cows, and it drives the market down. Too many cattle on the market and the lack of hay also hurts us with the poor cattle," says Coy Durke. 

Coy Durke, a cattleman in Abbeville, has grown up in the cattle industry. He says the hay shortage has been affecting everyone in the local industry. 

"We're just trying to hold on, I guess. Hold on to hopefully next year, we won't get the rains we’re getting, and hopefully we don't have a cold winter like they're calling for,” adds Durke. “So, if we have the cold winter, well, we'll see." 

Durke says the continuous rainfall hasn't given them enough time to cut and produce hay. 

"This year was kind of a wet September so it's still wet. We're still battling it. As we speak now, I'm trying to get some hay in before the rain tomorrow so pushing time," explains Durke. 

However, Durke says the cattle industry is in his blood and he's optimistic the industry will continue to have a substantial impact on Vermilion Parish. 

Durke says, "You have to like it. I guess the biggest benefit is liking to do it. That's about it. It's a hard industry." 

Durke is hoping the upcoming summer will be hot and dry allowing him to harvest his hay.  

Durke feeds his cattle with mineral blocks which are high in protein to help supplement the hay shortage.


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