Extended drought affecting Tennessee farmers

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Tennessee farmers are experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent memory.

One of the major hurdles farmers face during drought conditions is limited feed sources. Lack of rain has forced more farmers to feed livestock with hay earlier in the season, which has driven up prices.

Previous story: East Tennessee farmers facing hay shortage due to drought

Many farmers are turning to the University of Tennessee for help. The university’s Beef and Forage Center has been working with Tennessee producers to offer drought information and resources.

We’re pretty much out of our fall growing window,” said Dr. Bates. “We hopefully will be able to have a chance to grow some spring oats or some turnips or something like that, but for right now, the only thing we can do is try to make our hay go further as far as it can.”

Dr. Gary Bates said the Beef and Forage Center has put together a website called utbeef.com which includes webinars on everything from details on budgeting for hay during the winter to what to do if ponds start drying up.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is also working with farmers to connect them with hay suppliers, through their hay exchange.


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