Less rain has reduced the acres of oats, barley and wheat being planted, which has fueled a sharp jump in hay prices, the Press-Democrat of Santa Rosa reported Tuesday.
The drought has also led to a decline in grazing land, further increasing the demand for hay and driving up prices.
Tracy Underwood of the Santa Rosa Equestrian Center said she pays more than $20 for a bale of hay these days. A decade ago, the cost was about $9. Underwood said shes growing her own fodder to cut costs.
Im saving $200 a day on hay costs, she said.
West Santa Rosa dairyman Doug Beretta said he recently sold 40 milk cows to a dairy in Idaho to offset the rising cost of hay.
When grazing land is available, he needs about $10,000 worth of hay every 20 days for his milk cows. When its not, he goes through a load every 10 days at a cost of about $30,000 a month.
It cuts into your profitability, he said.
The drought is now in its third year.