Heat Presses Down on Beef and Dairy Production

Tennesseans aren’t the only ones overheated, thirsty, and tired. As temperatures remain in the nineties this week, farmers say livestock feel the same.

According to farmers, the heat is taking a toll on beef and dairy production. Chuck Yoest helps run Hatcher Family Dairy in College Grove. He says when it gets too hot, cows lose weight and don’t produce as much.

“Whenever you’ve got great heat like that, it can stress the animals and when that happens, it will result in less milk production,” he said.

Yoest installed fans and misters to spray water on cows during milking; he also drives around the farm regularly to monitor animals for signs of heat stress, like panting, confusion, and loss of appetite.

Beef farmer Howard Arnold says with depleted pastures and milk production down, he’ll have to buy more grain feed to keep calves healthy—costly given the high price of wheat.

“It has took its toll on man and beast,” he said.

There are about 2 million cattle in Tennessee—that’s three times the population of Memphis.

A report by the USDA today/yesterday says Tennessee soybean and cotton production have faltered due to extreme temperatures and lack of moisture, although overall, crops remain in good condition.

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