We've just come through one of the worst summers we can remember; hot days, dry days, no grass for the cattle. The haying equipment has stayed in the shed since May; we bought hay for the first time in our lives. We sold the calves which were big enough and kept on with the others, hoping each day for rain and a chance to cut hay one last time before winter. And each time the radar showed rain coming our way, the clouds parted, like the Red Sea, and went north or south, east or west of us, and the grass browned and died. We began feeding grain, and the dust almost hid the cattle as the hungry herd rushed to the troughs.
To make the hay go farther, we bought a grinder-mixer, grain, hay, troughs, tubs; the list went on and on. When the ponds went dry we bought water for the cattle and had the big pond cleaned out.
The little rains finally came, first from tropical storm Isaac and later from a cold front moving through. Not a great deal of rain, but it fell slowly, and the parched earth drank it in. We were hopeful again; would the meadows have time for the grass to grow? Would the cattle have grass to graze on until frost? To help replace the lost grasses, Popa bought grass seeds and planted for two days until...
They came: army worms, the larvae of small, brownish gray moths who had slipped in under cover of darkness and laid their eggs on the grass stems. We know what the worms can do: we've seen them strip an area clean in a matter of days, and when they finished with that area, they moved in hordes, or "armies", eating and destroying vegetation as they moved. Their meals are taken at night or on cloudy days and since they hide under the grass the damage can be done before being discovered. Insecticides applied to nearly mature larva that have completed their feeding is a waste of time and money.
So discouraging; maybe it is time to just give up, or take the attitude of "Que sera, sera".