The quality of the hay goes down the longer that it stays in the field, he said. Waiting to harvest the hay also reduces chances of harvesting a second or third crop.
Now that the sunny weather has dried the fields, farmers are putting in long hours.
“We’re working overtime to try and catch up, if that’s even possible,” LaPierre said.
All of the delay puts a strain on labor and time management, he said.
“You’re at the mercy of Mother Nature,” LaPierre said. “But that’s the nature of the business.”
Sam Trombley, owner of Win Place and Show Farm on Hayford Road in Champlain, hasn’t yet harvested his hay field either.
“Everybody’s in the same boat,” he said.
Although his horse farm has a hay field, he also purchases hay from local farmers.
“There’s a lot of hay out there if we get the weather to get it,” Trombley said.
He said the prices of hay haven’t gone up, and the quality won’t be nearly as good as a field harvested on time. The timothy, a plant that supplies horses with nutrients, has already flowered in his field.
Trombley also doesn’t want to tear up the field using heavy equipment in the mud.
“Every time you tear something up, it costs money to fix it,” he said.
Last year at this time, he had already finished haying.
Trombley has to be conscious of the condition of the hay he feeds his horses, as they are sensitive to dusty or moldy hay. The dust from mold spores can cause respiratory problems and other issues in horses.
“Their body can’t absorb it and digest it like a cow can,” Trombley said.
Meanwhile, students who take riding lessons at Win Place and Show farm are fortunate to have an indoor ring to ride in, as the outside ring has been muddy.