Texas drought affects ranchers with higher hay prices



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Posted on April 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 29 at 2:58 PM

Texas is still deep in a drought. That will be little relief this summer as already strapped ranchers are starting to pay more for hay.

It's meal time for these sleek race horses. They've worked up a big appetite running at nearby Sunland Park Race track. And there's a bigger price tag for feeding the horses these days.

"It's going up. Yeah todo el tiempo," a stall worker said.

This stall worker says the price of hay is higher because of a lingering drought in the southwest.

Even though it's spring, some hay growers in West Texas have already sold their supply as ranchers brace for another dry summer.

"Basically everything is gone. That's why we're buying from Arizona and its good quality hay," hay seller Daniel Castaneda said.

Castaneda sells hay near the racetrack.

"Our average client has at least 30 horses. So we have to buy it by the ton," he said.

Castaneda brings it to Texas by the truckload.

Of course these are pampered race horses and they get the best of everything but what about ordinary horses? Last year when the price of hay spiked, some owners abandoned their animals. Others may have to sell some of their animals. And that includes race horses.

Castaneda is the proud owner of a retired race horse. His name is Special Night Retired. Castaneda tries to find good homes for others.

But there's growing concern more horses will be sold at auction if the price of hay continues to climb.