Early Rain Could Hurt Livestock Season for Farmers

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Ron Morrow is a livestock farmer, but the most important part of his farm is what his cows eat.

He takes great pride in raising livestock the old fashion way by feeding them with only grass.

But it is risky.

“For me, to be able to do the things that I need to do on the farm I need the rain to get the grass growing to get the clovers growing but at the same time I need to manage it to increase the efficiency of the utilization,” Ozark’s Pasture Beef’s Partner Ron Morrow.

The key is to have rainfall as the seasons change.

Rain too early in August will allow grass to die off before winter.

Morrow worries if there is rainfall now and not closer to September, his grass will not grow for the end of the year.

This problem will affect the way his cows look in early spring when he sends them to the market.

“The rain last night was really important to us because it helps us get in the groove but the concern that I have is if it turns dry on us then we are in trouble because I need I need the rye grass coming up this fall,” Morrow said. “I’m concerned about September.”

Morrow says the farming industry in Northwest Arkansas could benefit from grass feeding their livestock in order to save money, but one factor still remains — the weather.

“There are going to be sometimes where the animals won’t do what you want them to or the rain doesn’t do what you want it to do,” Morrow said. “So it’s not necessarily how much rain we get but the distribution when it comes. “

Northwest Arkansas’ temperate weather conditions allow for optimal grass-fed livestock, but there is a lot of dependence on the clouds in order to produce the freshest beef possible.

“The advantage we have in Northwest Arkansas is because we can produce warm season grasses and cool season grasses equally and then that puts us at a better advantage economically than other parts of the country,” Morrow said.

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