Shatto Milk feeling the pinch because of cold weather - Montgomery Alabama news.

Shatto Milk, restaurants feeling the pinch because of cold weather
Crawfish at Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen. Crawfish at Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen.

When it stays cold for this long, it begins to affect many things including food prices and food production.

"If people can't find their root beer-flavored milk, they get mad!"

That was the somewhat sarcastic, somewhat accurate bottom line that local Shatto Milk Company co-owner Leroy Shatto shared with KCTV5.

Shatto says his milk production is down about 20 percent and it's all thanks to the lengthy stretch of colder-than-normal weather.

"The cows are eating feed, about 100 pounds per animal per day," Shatto advised. "But, it's going to keep the animals warm not to produce milk, so the cows are eating the same amount of feed, but are producing less milk."

Shatto has 400 cows. He says the cold weather has been bad for them and bad for him.

And, as he points out, "I can't afford heat for the girls."

Shatto says they've now purchased more cows to keep up with the demand.

With production down, Shatto said he's having to limit the number of flavors of his prized milk he can deliver to area stores.

"Our milk's in close to 100 stores. My poor cows can't produce enough to get caught up, especially with you city people rushing in and buying everything up each time it snows," Shatto said with just a hint of a laugh.

He adds that when it does get cold and people hunker down, they stock up on milk and bread, keeping the milk company busy.

"We have lost a little production and most dairies do. On the other hand, when it gets too hot, then they don't eat because it's too hot and then the milk production goes down. The dairy farmer, they are at the mercy of the weather," he said.

Still, the milk shortage is no laughing matter. Making things worse is the fact that the drought in California is driving up the price of hay, increasing the cost of Shatto's feed by about 10 percent.

So you've got cows producing 20 percent less, and you're paying 10 percent more to feed the cows. That's not a recipe for success. But Shatto said he can do a little more than wait for the weather to break and for spring to arrive sooner rather than later.

The cold weather also affects beef products and seafood and people may notice it on their bill at restaurants or stores.

"Lately it's been difficult just to meet our demand," said Vic Allred, the owner of Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen.

Allred said prices have gone up from all kinds of weather-related problems - from the West Coast drought to the East Coast snow storms.

"If I were to bring in a truck full of groceries, everything from seafood to beef to produce, that cost was about $3,000, but today it's about $4,000, so it's a direct hit," he said.

Items such as crawfish and shrimp are hard to get.

"We're about ready to head into Fat Tuesday next week so were going to sell a lot of crawfish. Well they've gone from $3 per pound to $5," Allred said.

Jazz's owner says he's trying to keep prices low for customers but, as you notice a change in grocery prices, so do they.

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