Farmers May Lose Entire Harvest Because Of Drought
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Farmers are used to adjusting to Mother Nature's unpredictability. However, the record breaking heat and drought so early in the season is putting their entire harvest in jeopardy.
With each bite, farmer Chris Anderson's cattle are chomping away at any potential profit.
"Normally if you're feeding three bails (of hay) a week…that's $120 just coming off your bottom line," he explained.
In July, the cattle are usually grazing the land, but grass, in these conditions, is hard to find. That's just part of the problem; leaving Anderson with few options about how to cut his losses.
"Cattle prices are decent," Anderson said. "I think we can get by selling them just a little lighter than we normally would."
The heat and drought conditions are also stunting the growth of corn.
"If we don't get that rain in a few weeks we would be looking at normally 180 bushels to an acre," University of Tennessee Coffee County Extension Director Steve Harris said. "It might make 20 bushels to the acre."
The corn is sold to feed livestock, but the effect could trickle down to your local grocery store and your wallet.
"Long term, sure it's going to affect the markets," Harris added.
It all depends on what happens across the country. Meanwhile, Chris Anderson is just hoping some rain will salvage what's left.
"We may be at a total loss right now," Anderson said. "We don't really know that for a fact yet."
What he does know is that very little is in his hands.
"It's a gamble trying to understand and figure out what we really need to do."