Area Drought Brings Hay Shortage

WCTV meteorologists say our area has seen one of the driest Marches on record, and this month isn't much better. The drought has begun to affect the area's hay supply.

Dairy farmer Ronnie Walker says like many in our region, a rainfall deficit is making it difficult to stay stocked.

Ronnie said, "We count on it, we got to have it, and there's no way to get around it.”

Walker says he usually goes through about seven bails a day to nourish his cattle.

"They help their digestive system. In our instance we use it to get milk with, so it helps them, which helps produce the appetite of the cow, which increases the dry matter intake, which increases milk production."

The trickle down effect of the hay shortage could cause the price of milk to rise...which already went up 10 to 20 cents last month.

Dora Cullers, a Madison County resident, said, "The price is already high enough. I don't think it should go any higher. We should be getting some down prices. I know we can't make the rain come but we need more rain."

Eyewitness News meteorologists say the rainfall deficit for 2007 is nine and a third inches, and one and a half inches for April so far.

Ronnie added, "Water is the blood. Without it it's hard to grow anything."

Walker says it would take 20 inches of rain to bring moisture back to normal ranges. Our area's forecast doesn't show relief for another week or so.