Will There be a Bedding Shortage this Winter?

( Taylor Leach )

The brutal combination of a harsh winter, wet spring and late summer have caused some dairy farmers to worry about their hay and silage supply come later this fall. For many of these producers, the potential lack of bedding material is also at the forefront of their minds. 

“We’ve already talked to some of our (straw) vendors,” says John Metzger, a dairy farmer from Kimmell, Indiana. “Some of them who we’ve bought straw from over the years don’t have any excess straw to sell.” 

Despite what looks to be like a warmer winter ahead of us, a lack of bedding materials could cause major problems for dairy operations across the country. 


According to the USDA, the all wheat planted area for 2019 stood at 45.6 million acres, down 5% from 2018. This represents the lowest all wheat planted area on record since records began in 1919.

With wheat harvest running at a slower pace in the upper Midwest and fewer acres planted, some farmers are worried about the price of straw escalating in the coming months.


If a straw shortage is on the horizon for your operation, other bedding options to consider include:

  • Sawdust
  • Sand
  • Recycled manure solids
  • Chopped corn stalks
  • Chopped soybean stalks
  • Almond shells

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