Dry weather impacts cattle farmers

The hot and dry weather is impacting cattle farmers and could soon impact one’s meat prices at the grocery store.

The recent weather has killed the grass that the cattle feed on, forcing farmers to spend money on hay.

"We haven’t received more than a couple of tints of rain at any one point for months now," Marion County Cattle Farmer Joe Kendrick said.

Kendrick is concerned as he tries to keep his cows fed in these weather conditions. But, it’s easier said than done.

"We did start feeding hay again last week, which is a little unusual or way unusual actually, for this time of year," Kendrick said.

Kendrick’s pastures are burned up, leaving him no choice but to feed his cows with hay. This is something farmers try to stay away from, as hay bales can be costly.

"Last week at this time, these racks were empty and because of the drought and the short pasture, we’re feeding hay now," Kendrick said.

The heat and dry weather is forcing farmers in the area to make choices that they may not want to make and Kendrick says some are even considering reducing herd sizes.

"There’s been some talk about some guys who are going to reduce cow numbers," Kendrick said. "So I mean, that has some long-term effects and those cows will most likely be cows that will go to slaughter."

Reducing herd sizes has the ability to raise beef prices, which is something Kendrick doesn’t want to happen. 

"With our tariff negotiations and things going on within our markets, it just adds more complexity to the overall farming operations," Kendrick said.

But for now, farmers in the area will continue to wait for a much awaited rain fall. 

"Hopefully it’s something short term and it will turn itself around soon," Kendrick said. 
 

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