Hay crop rolling in
January 11, 2014
Parts of Nevada languish in the middle of a drought emergency where some ranchers barely have enough water for their cattle.
But in one corner of the state, the hay crop came in ahead of expectations.
John Ascuaga’s Jacks Valley Ranch is wrapping up its hay harvest this week.
A wet May in Carson Valley contributed to the harvest this year, leaving enough snow on the mountain above the ranch, located in the northwest corner above Carson Valley, to irrigate the fields.
“There was a real good runoff,” Ranch Manager Bruce Lanning said. “It was nice and slow, and then the hot weather hit and the grass was blooming like crazy.”
Lanning estimated the ranch would harvest around 6,500 three-string bales for sale to a hay broker.
Scores of larger, 1,200-pound, bales would be stored on the ranch for winter feed.
The first cutting of hay is close to complete in Carson Valley. Those ranches relying on the Carson River for irrigation are close to done for the season.
However, many ranchers have supplemental ground rights they can use, and rain during the growing season could support a second cutting in places.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor issued on Tuesday, western Douglas County, including those portions of the Valley at the base of the Carson Range, is in a moderate drought after two dry winters. Eastern Douglas County, including the Pine Nuts, is considered severe drought.
Portions of Churchill, Pershing and Lander counties are in a state of exceptional drought.
Rainy weather in the middle of June didn’t do much to improve the weather picture, with Minden receiving 7 percent of its average rainfall for the month.
But thunderstorms last week dumped as much as an inch of rain in places around Carson Valley.