Quilting, Farming, Variety

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Finding Ways to Feed in This Drought

Some of you may be tired of reading about the drought we're having this summer, and unless you've lived it, I know it's difficult for you to understand just how serious this situation is for farmers, ranchers, and grain producers.  Our cattle have had almost no green grass to eat since early spring, and we've only had one cutting of hay, whereas we usually cut at least three times.  With no grass for them to eat, means we've had to feed hay all summer, and the supply meant for winter keeps going down.  Sometimes I go to bed in the evening, and get up in the morning, almost in a panic, wondering how we will make it through the winter.  Not just the thought that there might not be enough for them to eat, but also all the extra work and stress it will mean for us, two older people.

But we're not in this alone; our neighbors are facing the same problems.  If you see the dark red spot in the middle of the country, indicating severe dry conditions, that's us.  So, we're trying to find a way to make the hay go farther to feed now and in the winter to come, and it ain't cheap!!

We bought a grinder-mixer to make a feed for the cattle.  Then we bought eleven bags of various ground grains to mix with the hay.

The hay is put into the grinder,

the grains added and mixed,

then it's augured out into troughs.

This was all done before noon while the cows were still in the shade.  By the middle of the afternoon they had found their new feed, and some were eating while others were going back to the shade; after all, it's been up to l04* today.   Next problem: drinking water shortages.

During all this summer I kept remembering the old bumper stickers which read,
"Don't cuss the farmer with you mouth full."  We'll all be seeing higher prices on food products, but rest assured the person working the fields and the farmer and rancher aren't the ones taking in the extra profits.



  1. It is worrisome...I know exactly what you mean. What worries me the most though is what if this has become our new "normal?" This is the second summer in a row with the higher than normal temperatures, and now with the drought, it makes me very worried. :(

  2. Oh I wish I could send you some... It's so sad to see conditions like that... It does make it so much harder on people, trying to save up for the winter.. People don't realize a good thing when they've got it.. I'm praying really hard for rain to come your way and the whole drought area really soon.. God Bless..

  3. Did you get any of the rain that I got yesterday - 3/8" but better than nothing. I know it has got to be very worrisome wondering what you will feed the cattle and ponds are beginning to dry up right and left around here. That is some kind of Glad you have a way to stretch the feed out a little.

  4. Oh Charlotte, you are in my prayers and my heart hurts for you. It is difficult enough just to go through a drought, but when your livelihood depends on the weather it is unbearable. I'm thankful you've been able to make it through so far. Praying for rain.

  5. Hey Charlotte, just popping over from Oz, to say 'hello'. It's tough for you guys....farmers have to deal with the vagaries of the weather and sometimes you just can't take a trick.
    I know how depressing drought conditions can be as I live in the country and we rely solely on tank water (rain).
    Like Linda, you will be in my prayers too........

    Take care,

    Claire ♥♥

  6. I can't imagine how horrible it is for you all out that way. I'm in KY and earlier in the summer we had real dry conditions and killed out most of the grass but lately we have had lots of rain, but most things are too far gone by now. I sure wish I could send you some rain. I remember a few years ago there was no hay in this area. Very dry conditions, we didn't have enough and couldn't even find any to buy. We have horses but there were some people that were just turning the horses out and no one would claim them....so cruel.

    When you mix your grain with hay like you did, how long does that last? I find that very interesting.

    Have a wonderful and Blessed day

  7. Kristie, one grinding makes a feeding for one day for a herd of about fifty cows and thirty calves. We have three herds, at different locations, about this same size, so a great deal of time is going to be spent on feeding, especially since two herds are farther from home.

    It is hard to find hay for sale, even out of state, and even with loads of 38 bales at a time, it doesn't go very far. Prices for hay coming in is about $70 per bale and grain prices keep going up too. When it gets cool enough to haul cattle safely we'll probably sell some cows. Maybe, since we're both in our 70s, we need to cut back anyway.

    Thank you all for your support.

  8. I hope it gets better soon. they just put up hay in our area this past week. That's the second time this year. It is dry here, but not nearly as dry as it seems to be where you are. We'll get a little rain, but the ground soaks it up so fast that it's quickly dry again.

  9. Charlotte, I think of you daily.
    Nothing in my world is like it use to be - but - at the moment do not have on me what you do.
    Please take care of yourself.
    I know I am down to
    if I have a roof over my head,
    something to eat and my favorite
    old clothes - and can pray.
    Guess that is all I need.

  10. The water situation is what worries me most.

  11. I was reading some encouraging news that we've been in two El Nina years with El Nino starting in the next couple of months ending the drought, probably too late to do much good this growing season however. I think of you often and I'm always inspired by your tenacity.

  12. We've been watching the Agribusiness show on RFD channel to keep up with what's been going on in your neck of the woods, Charlotte... and we can't believe what we've been seeing.
    I know the price of everything will go up now, but I hope for you all relief comes very soon. (If I could, I send you all the hay we had!)