Cattle producers, farmers desperate for more rainfall

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some might think the rainfall situation has improved greatly since last year, but to those in the agriculture industry, the drought is far from over.

While Clanton has seen its share of summer showers, the bigger picture shows a county and state in dire need of rain.

“We need a sweeping rain – not just spotted showers, but it needs to rain all night,” said Regional Extension Agent Jack Tatum.

With their first cutting of hay behind them, cattle farmers need a little help from above for the second cutting. Low grass production in the region’s pastures creates a higher demand for feed.

And the high temperatures aren’t helping either, Tatum said.

“With temperatures where they are, we need an inch and a half to two inches over several days because we have not recovered from the past two years of drought,” he estimated.

Despite the conditions, Tatum said producers are doing a great job and calves are weighing excellent. Many producers are getting their calves ready to go into board sales, in which they are sold in 50,000-pound lots.

“Cattle that will go on trucks here should grow and grade well,” he said. “They should be very profitable for a person buying them to put them on a feed lot.”

If flooding in the Midwest causes a major loss of corn, however, it could drive prices up, Tatum warns. For this reason he advises producers to start booking fall and winter feed prices if at all possible.

The same goes for horse and goat producers, he added.

“For horse producers, if we continue with no rainfall, it might be a good idea to purchase hay for the fall and winter,” Tatum said.