Manitoba Beef Producers said farmers may be forced to sell off livestock because of a hay shortage this season.

Carson Callum, the general manager of the organization said many farmers are dealing with hay and forage shortage this year and may have to cut down their herds of livestock.

“Not sure if they’ll have to liquidate the whole herd, but I think downsizing for sure could happen,” Callum told CTV News Thursday.

“We could see a big flux of cattle going into the market,” he added.

Callum said producers are facing back-to-back years of dry conditions and believes they’ll struggle to salvage the rest of the season. He believes the farmland will need to see more rain for production to improve.

According to Manitoba Agriculture’s latest crop report from July 23, hay and forage yields are “significantly below average” and is at “40 to 60 per cent normal” at this point.

Ryan Mateychuk, a Zhoda, Man.-area farmer, is selling baled hay to farmers in need. He said the calls have been coming in quickly.

“I had about 30 calls in about 45 minutes” Mateyhcuk said. “It’s definitely a scary situation for farmers in this area.”

The province said livestock producers are allowed to temporarily use crown lands for hay cutting and animal grazing. 

It said livestock must be removed when naturally existing forage is exhausted or by Oct. 31. Baled hay must be removed by Nov.15.

The province said its received nearly 200 requests for parcels of land.