Wednesday, June 13, 2007

$3.89 a gallon

Gasoline? No. That's what I paid for a gallon of milk today. Expect it to get worse. Much worse.

Fox News is airing a piece right now about how much more groceries are costing and are GOING to cost in the future. The reason, they are explaining, is that the price of corn is going up because it is being diverted to the production of fuels.

Far be it for me to argue with their "experts," but all they're doing is selling advertising time.


Although I've mentioned him numerous times, let me finally introduce you to Dingbat (The Aged Quarter Horse). I've had him since he was a four-year-old and he's now closing in on 25. In equine terms that's very roughly . . . 75.

For his age Dingbat is in good health, but like we'd expect for ourselves IF we get to that age -- may we look as good if we do -- things don't work as well as they used to. Not that horses have a digestive tract that makes sense to start with.

Cattle can eat just about any ol' hay, but horse hay has to be of a particular kind and quality or it (among so many other things) can cause colic. I'm not going to waste your time going into it because this is only background.

I'm down to my last three bales of hay. Horse hay. By the time that's gone, I'll have Dingbat fully swapped over to soaked beet pulp (Doesn't it look just so yummy!) as a substitute.

Why? Because there is no hay.

I don't mean just in my hay shed or even horse hay. Because of the drought, there isn't any hay to be had.


There's bales here and there of timothy or alfalfa at $20 per square bale, but Dingbat's aged digestive tract couldn't handle it. It would kill him.

Cattle farmers, whether beef or dairy, couldn't afford to pay that even if they could somehow find the quantities each cow would require daily. Cattle do very well with (what I think of as) crap hay. Except, there is no hay of any kind. So, months ago cattle farmers started culling their herds.

There are usually three cuttings of hay each season with the first coming in in April or May. The second, June . . . July. The third and final cut for the season (to get everyone through the winter 'til the next year's first cut) occurs some time in the Fall.

But first cut never occured this year. It didn't exist. Second cut, even with the recent rain, is a month to six weeks away and who knows how much of that there will be. Third cut . . .who knows.

Don't expect a reprieve any time soon. With nothing to fall back on 'cause what was normally stored from the year before already long gone, the lack of hay this year is already affecting next year's supply.

Since there will be nothing socked away from last year, it will be used as soon as it grows.

If next Spring, there's even enough rain for hay to grow.

The first impact (demand / supply) is dairy. We're seeing that now. Next will be the price of beef in the grocery store stores, so if the price of beef looks damned good right now, the market's flooded.

Buy, and sock it away in your freezer.

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Anonymous pam said...

I think I need to buy another freezer... thanks for the tip!

I remember droughts in Texas that lasted 10 years... 200 year old oak trees simply fell over from lack of water... but we always had hay. That's just scary!!!!!

Oh, and Dingbat's a cutie. Hope his digestive tract doesn't go wonky on you!

7:02 AM  
Blogger doyle said...

Mine is big enough to hold a couple adult bodies, but it desperately needs to be cleaned out. I keep telling myself not to buy any meat so I can, then get to the grocery store and see the prices. Knowing what's ahead, I completely ignore my own orders.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous pam said...

I know that beef is going higher, but that also leads me to believe that produce has nowhere left to go but sky high as well... and it's REALLY high now. Here, at least.

ONE red bell pepper costs 3 something each, and brussel sprouts are waaay out of my price range.
How can people like the elderly, on a fixed income, afford to eat?

6:19 PM  
Blogger doyle said...

Produce is . . . let me correct that. Produce HAS been sky high for several years. It's only gotten worse, and with no rain will get worse still. There is, however, seldom a logical relationship between what the stores are charging US and what they're paying for it. I understand the cost of overhead adds to the price, but it's . . . It's insulting!

Like last week, peppers -- green and red -- I didn't buy any because they were so expensive. As a matter of fact, I haven't bought bell peppers at the grocery store in ages. But since I wanted some for a salad, I bought them from "The Old Man" who sets his "stand" up daily, across the street from the grocery store. I told him what I wanted, he rummaged through the cartons (of vegetables he'd bought at the farmers market)in the bed of his pick up truck, and I came home with one bell pepper, one red pepper and two cucumbers. For a buck.

I spent a lotta years working (I'm retired now.) in and around social services, Pam. I'm telling you that only to let you know I do have experience with how hard it is for some to afford groceries.

It's the old folk that hit me the hardest when they couldn't, but I grew to understand that absent an extraordinary circumstance, most on fixed or limited incomes do okay. Not great, but okay.

They grew up in a different time than we did. They shop smart and as needed do without a certain high-priced item, or substitute something else far less expensive.

That doesn't mean when the "oatmeal hit the fan" they didn't face a real problem, and I'm talking basic food.

Some had family or church members to help them out. Others, those without even that, ended up in my world.

8:19 PM  

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