Montgomery Co. cattle infertile due to TVA plant emissions - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Montgomery Co. cattle infertile due to TVA plant emissions

Posted: Updated:
  • More newsMore>>

  • Why are Americans obsessed with missing plane?

    Why are Americans obsessed with missing plane?

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:35 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:35:12 GMT
    From the disappearances of aviator Amelia Earhart to labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, there's just something about a good mystery that Americans find too tantalizing to resist. Perhaps that's why the saga of...More >>
    From the disappearances of aviator Amelia Earhart to labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, there's just something about a good mystery that Americans find too tantalizing to resist. Perhaps that's why the saga of missing...More >>
  • Boston Marathon begins under tight security

    Boston Marathon begins under tight security

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:14 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:14:07 GMT
    One year after a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs killed three people and wounded more than 260 others, turning a day of athletic triumph into one of tragedy, the Boston Marathon returns to the streets Monday.More >>
    The 118th running of the Boston Marathon began under heavy security Monday morning, a year after the bombings near the race's finish line that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.More >>
  • SKorean president: Ferry crew actions 'murderous'

    SKorean president: Ferry crew actions 'murderous'

    Monday, April 21 2014 9:23 AM EDT2014-04-21 13:23:30 GMT
    South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Monday that the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry committed "unforgivable, murderous acts" in the disaster, which left more than 300 people dead or missing.More >>
    South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Monday that the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry committed "unforgivable, murderous behavior," while criticism of her own government's handling of the disaster...More >>
CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Many of the cows in Montgomery County are unable to get pregnant, and of all things, it has to do with the emissions from a nearby Tennessee Valley Authority plant.

A group of students and agriculture experts have made the bizarre discovery and say it presents a huge problem for farmers and consumers.

"The real issue is we have too many cows that don't have a calf," said Montgomery County agriculture agent John Barter.

The cows are suffering from bad health and spontaneous abortion. At times, as many as 40 percent of the cows are infertile.

Some of Clarksville-Montgomery County's brightest students have been collecting data for researchers at Vanderbilt University, Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service.

It has been quite a project that has yielded answers as to what is happening and why.

The TVA plant in nearby Cumberland City emits sulphur, which carries into neighboring Montgomery County and lands on the grass for the cows to eat.

The animals then start developing critical deficiencies in copper, selenium and zinc, and soon the cows are sick, infertile and dying.

It's a nasty problem for anyone who owns a farm near this type of plant.

"They burn a lot of coal there, and I certainly don't want to shut down the plant, but we have genetic defects, breeding issues and lower milk production," Barter said.

The TVA continues to attempt to scrub out more of that sulphur and adds that the sulphur does not harm humans or anything else that doesn't eat the grass.

One of the big issues in giving the cows copper supplements is if they get too much copper, it can cause all sorts of other health problems. Not only that, it can also be very difficult to diagnose.

In the meantime, consumers can expect the costs from the impact on beef and dairy production to be passed along at the grocery store.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Montgomery Co. cattle infertile due to TVA plant emissionsMore>>

Powered by WorldNow