Hay is for horses, the saying goes, but there may not be much of it this year, at least in some areas of the state. Grasses for grazing dairy cows are also being hurt by the ongoing drought.

“Pastures in some areas are drying,” said Walter Whitcomb, commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. “And it’s impacting the harvest of hay in some places.”

In a normal year, farmers look forward to the second cut of hay because it’s usually of higher nutritional value, said Lucy Hunt, whose family owns Rest and Be Thankful Farm in Lyman. Hunt’s farm is located in York County, one of the areas of the state considered to be in a severe drought. The first cut, she said, came in early and the quality was average. The second cut, which will take place in late August or early September, “going to be slow,” Hunt said, an assessment echoed by several other farmers in the area. “There’s not a lot of new growth.”

In nearby Wells, Bill Spiller of Spiller Farm said most of his second crop of hay won’t even be worth cutting.

For Nick Armentrout, who owns 150-acre Spring Creek Farm, also in Lyman – where he cuts hay; grows spelt, oats and barley; and raises horses for equine therapy – the shift in weather patterns in recent years has left him wondering if this is “the new normal.”

“I’m not a climate denier,” he said.


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