SAMANTHA SARACINO-6 News Reporter
LOUDON (WATE) - The hot, dry
weather is taking a toll on East Tennessee farmers tending to their
crops and animals. The heat has already affected them drastically
and it's only June.
Mowing hay is just part of the job for Ryan Bright, of Hillcrest
He says he's noticed a change
in the hay, and not for the better. "This should be a lot greener,
and we just mowed it yesterday. It is very brown and hardly green or
has moisture in it," Bright explained.
He says the weather is causing issues everywhere on his farm.
"We've got corn that's waist high that needs rain to grow. We've got
pearl millet that we'll use for feed this fall and we sowed it after
the last rain so if we don't get another one, it's not going to
grow," Bright said.
If crops aren't growing, that means there are financial concerns.
"When it's hot and we don't have any crops growing, then we're going
to have to spend more money that we don't have to buy feed to feed
the animals," Bright said.
In heat like this not only are farmers worried about their crops,
they're also worried about their animals.
That's especially true for dairy farmers like Bright. They rely on
milk production, and the heat slows it down.
"The heat for the cows and the sheep and the horses is a big issue.
Cows may be giving 15 gallons of milk a day normally. When it's hot
like this, she's not eating as much. She's not drinking as much. So
her production maybe cut by 25 percent or even half," said John
Goddard, UT Extension director in Loudon County.
The ultimate solution is rain.
"A good soaking rain will offset a lot of these heat problems we're
having. Our corn is probably going to be harvested much earlier
simply because the heat degree days we've had," Goddard said.
He also recommends keeping animals in the shade with plenty of