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Through Sunshine And Hail, Family Moves Tons Of Hay
South Dakota Ag Connection - 05/25/2023

Seventeen large hay sheds border the alfalfa fields of the Brosnan family, just a couple miles from the winding James River in Sanborn County, South Dakota.

In the height of hay season, they’re all full.

That’s more than 9,500 tons of hay.

Much of it goes to regular customers, mostly trucked east as big square bales. Some customers buy has many as 40 semi loads each year.

Making hay has been Mike Brosnan’s business since 1986. That’s when his father passed away and he began farming. What started on just 245 hay acres has grown to an operation of 8,400 acres split between Brosnan and his daughter and son-in-law, Jackie and Derik Kleinsasser. They raise alfalfa, corn, soybeans and cattle between Woonsocket and Huron.

The family will serve as South Dakota Crop Watchers, providing Tri-State Neighbor readers with biweekly updates through the season.

While the Kleinsassers focus on the cattle and grain side of the business. Brosnan is mostly involved with hay. In fact, the license plate of his pickup declares that every day is a HAYDAY.

He loves the challenge, he said.

Raising all dryland hay was a challenge last year, and this year is starting out much the same. While they usually start haying any time after May 15, the cold, wet spring of 2022 put the first cutting well after that mark. The alfalfa was very mature at the first cut and made for a big crop. Subsequent cuttings didn’t yield nearly as much.

The second cutting yielded about a third of the first crop, and the third cutting was about a third of that.


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