Technology drives modern-day hay harvest

In 2017 local farmers harvested more than 250,000 tons of alfalfa. Now, more than ever, technology is a key piece to the traditional hay season. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – The cutting of alfalfa is a summer tradition in Malheur County and technology and a global market have changed the business in subtle and interesting ways.

So far, this year the alfalfa yields appear to be good, according to hay producers and the county extension office.

In 2017, Malheur County produced more than 250,000 tons of alfalfa worth just over $43 million. Only Klamath and Jefferson counties produced more. Area hay producers encountered a wet spring this year and then frequent thunderstorms this month that impacted quality.

“We have either got a lot of hay wet or put off a lot of cutting. Both make . . .