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Crops damaged by rain

Harvest Delay

BLACKFOOT, Idaho - Due to all the rain last week, many hay growers lost precious time and money. The delicate hay needs time to dry before they can bale it.

According to the National Weather Service, we broke records for rainfall in parts of our region.

"When the hay was nearly to bale, it was dry when it (was) rained on it. So once it quit raining, two days after, we were back out there," says Dewey Stander, a farmer.

Wet hay can easily begin to mold and become worthless.

"If they cut the hay just before rain, there is a lot of mold. It is down on the ground. The mold starts growing on it, it does not make it palatable," says Wayne Jones, extension educator for Idaho State University. 

Moldy hay is not the only concern-- if wet when baled, there is the possibility of it catching on fire, even without an open flame.

"Spontaneous combustion is a huge problem. We lose haystacks fairly often because there is a little too much moisture in the hay, then it starts. Microbes starts heating up, then to a certain point it starts to take on a life of its own, if it gets hot enough to spontaneously combust. It burns down barns, burns down haystacks, it's very serious stuff," Jones says.

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