We could soon see higher dairy prices due in part to the drought happening right now in the Midwest.
Hillside Dairy in Fallon produces 19,000 gallons of milk per day. They depend on their cows to be productive. And those cows depend on nutrition including both alfalfa and corn. Even though local farmers grow both, we don't grow enough in this area to support the dairy industry through the winter. So we buy silage corn from the Midwest, on the open market.
"We buy a lot of corn from the Midwest," says Eric Olsen who owns the Hillside Dairy with his brothers in Fallon. "And corn crop there, as you know, is very, very damaged by the drought. It's horrible and it's gonna hurt everybody. It's gonna hurt farmers back there if we don't get the yields. It hurts us too. We're all in the same ship."
In fact, the corn crop in Fallon is right on schedule this year. Because the reservoirs were so full from two winters ago, farmers are getting a 90% allocation of water and so are flooding their fields on a regular basis. But we don't grow enough corn for the needs here.
"It's all just supply and demand. If supply is short, the prices will go up. I would expect prices here to go up eventually too because the price of grain is up," says Olsen. "We can pull grain and feed them more alfalfa, but then milk production goes down per cow. So, again, prices will go up. It's just unavoidable."
No one will say how much of a hike we could see per gallon in the stores but they all seem to think we'll see those increases before the end of the summer.
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