It could be a ‘tough’ winter for cattle farmers

State’s drought impact on cattle farmers

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Some Alabama cattle farmers expect a tough winter ahead as a the state still faces a drought.

The most recent United States Drought Monitor showed 52 percent of the state faces a moderate drought as of Thursday. Extreme drought covers 5 percent of the state and severe drought surrounds 20 percent of it.

Much of Alabama still in a drought
Much of Alabama still in a drought (Source: WSFA)

The lack of rain prompted a hay shortage. That shortage is increasing hay prices and costing farmers more money than usual to feed their cattle, according to Chris Langley, the president of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association.

“If you hadn’t got the grass to feed them or the hay, it sort of dampens the market a little bit and it’s not quite as good,” said Langley. “If the winter is long going through it, it’s going to be a hard winter.”

Cattle farmers across the country, like Denzil Dees, have already began feeding cattle hay months earlier than normal.

“We’re running a little shorter on hay so that’s going to have a big impact," Dees said.

CK Cattle farm held their cattle sale Friday. People from across the country came to the sale in the River Region.

Ken Culp, an extension specialist for the University of Kentucky, came to the sale. He said the drought could deter someone from buying cattle because of the cost.

“If they’re selling breeding stock to people who are already dipping into their winter supplies of feed, they really don’t want to have more cattle, because more cattle eat more feed," Culp said.

Dees said the small pockets of rain farmers are receiving in October will allow farmers to hopefully grow grass to feed their animals. Dees shares how he plan to make it through the winter.

“Determination," he said. "The will to just keep farming to have cattle and just the love for it.”

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