“We’re Still in a Drought” Ozark Farmers Struggle to Feed Cattle

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SPRINGFIELD,     Mo. – We’ve been bringing you coverage of drought conditions in Southwest Missouri, and finally, we’ve been seeing some rain especially in the past week.

However, just because we’ve seen rain, doesn’t mean our farmers and ranchers are in the clear.

Summer drought caused a lot of trouble for livestock and cattle producers in the Ozarks.

“This summer is as bad as 2012 was, it started sooner than it did in 2012, it maybe hasn’t been as hot,” explained David Gunter, a dairy farmer, “most days we’re the upper 90s pushing 100s wherein 2012 we were 105 plus, so the heat wasn’t as bad, but the lack of rain was worse than it was in 2012.

“Even though it’s rained recently, we’re still in a drought, and we’re suffering from the effects of the drought,” said Tim Schnackenberg, with the University of Missouri Extension.

Schnakenberg said many farmers are still wondering how to feed their cows this winter.

“Many of our producers in southwest Missouri have been removing cattle out of their herds to have fewer mouths to feed,” Schnackenberg explained.

The University of Missouri extension council organized meetings to give farmers ways to survive the drought with programs focused on how to supplement low-quality hay, alternative food options and assessing prices.

And some farmers KOLR10 spoke to said they’re thankful for the rain.

“This week we have gotten about 3 1/2 inches and it was very welcomed,” Gunter said, “we thank the lord for it, this was the most rain we’ve had since I don’t remember.”

“It did help, we were able to get some winter rye, hopefully, we’ll get some rain tonight and tomorrow so we can get that seed growing,” said Marc Delong, a farmer, “we just have to see what the weather brings us, there are just no guarantees but you gotta take that gamble and get it in the ground and try to do something.”

Farmers said they’re going to need as much rain as they can get to survive the winter.

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