Last year's hay crops suffered significantly because of the drought-plagued land.
Ranchers like Ryan Olson barely got 18% of his hay crop. "We can put up 4,000 round bails on this ranch, last year we got 700," said Olson.
Olson says thanks to random snow and rain, hay this year is making a comeback. "This year is a good year, but it's not back to normal," said Olson. "Without mother nature coming in here, even with irrigation, we would not have had what we're having now."
Even though Olson says the crop isn't completely back to normal, the improvement will help cover the cost of the hay he had to buy last year. "This is going to help heal up from last year's expenses, where last year we spent $80,000 on hay," said Olson. "This year we'll sell some of this year's crop to make up for last year."
Olson says he's had his struggles, but he's more lucky than other ranchers because he irrigates. "I'm very well off compared to a lot of them," said Olson. "A lot of them are all dry land. They don't have irrigation, their hay crop won't be as good as it normally would be. It will be good, but they'll still have to buy hay."
Ranchers aren't the only ones who benefit when the hay crop is better. "It all evolves around getting enough hay," said Olson. "The more hay we get, the more equipment we run, the more fuel we buy, the more twine we buy. Everybody is better off."
Olson says the cost of hay is better than last year, but it's still higher than normal. He says the cost last year was between $175 to $300 per ton for hay and delivery, this year it's between $125 to $175, and it's normally around $100.