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Farm Production Slows as Temps Rise

Posted August 10, 2007
Updated August 11, 2007

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— Down at Manco Dairy Farm near Pittsboro, this week's triple-digit temperatures have tongues wagging.

Dairy cattle are down on their luck.

"It's really taking its toll – the loss of production and overall stress," said Lynn Mann who works at the farm.

The extreme heat has reduced milk production by 30 percent, or a loss of about $300 a day, Mann said.

"Where we usually see 8 to 9 gallons, we're closer to 5," Mann said.

Since it is a global market, experts say it is unlikely shoppers will see any immediate price increase on store shelves because of the local production problems.

"We're in a national-global market. They'll bring food in from where there is food," said Sam Gross, an agricultural extension agent in Chatham County. "Where it will be felt is when farmers can't pay their taxes or have enough money to raise their families."

In addition, dry weather and high temperatures might also have a lasting impact on feed for livestock.

"Depending on the severity of the weather, we may not have enough hay to carry us through the winter," Gross said.

The temperatures have already taken their toll, but with some quick relief, farmers say they will bounce back.

"We haven't lost any (cattle), but it's just a matter of time if this continues," Mann said. "They can't stand but so much."

The same goes for the hens down the road, where farmer Lin Andrew already lost some to the heat.

"I'm kind of on pins and needles," Andrew said. "I come up here every few minutes to check. I've got a monitoring system on my computer at home."

Most hen houses are cooled with fans and chill pads. The high-power usage, though, contributed to several power outages this week.

One Chatham farmer lost 5,000 chickens Thursday when an outage caused the hen house to get too hot.

Hot temperatures are also affecting beef cattle, Gross said.

"They don't want to eat. They're losing weight instead of maintaining their weight or gaining weight," Gross said.


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  • I Hate Hippies Aug 13, 2007


    A cow's lactation is generally going to decrease as heat increases. If you have a cow who decreases in extreme heat like this, then she will slightly increase when the heat resides, but her peak production will not be reached again due to the stress of the changing environment.

    I don't know a dairy farmer in the world who would pour milk down the drain because they've got "too much."

  • Steve Crisp Aug 12, 2007

    To I Hate Hippies:

    Well then, how does it work?

  • weasleyes Aug 12, 2007

    "Farm Production Slows as Temps Rise"
    Well, knock ME over with a feather!" This is simply common sense to people familiar with farming. I was a sharecropper youn'un.

  • I Hate Hippies Aug 12, 2007

    "In two weeks they could be dumping excess milk on the ground or in the sewers. Or even worse, the Federal Gov't buying the surplus with our TAX $$$$$." - tom547293

    You don't know jack about farming or you'd starve to death son. That's not how it works. I don't know what city you're from, but they don't have cows there obviously

  • dougalu Aug 12, 2007

    What would you have Troxler do?

  • tom547293 Aug 11, 2007

    You know, In two weeks they could be dumping excess milk on the ground or in the sewers. Or even worse, the Federal Gov't buying the surplus with our TAX $$$$$. Then again School is about to start. It's not like the Market is lost forever, production is down for a few days.

  • gottabenc Aug 10, 2007

    So where is Steve Troxler. He sure has been quiet in a time of Agricultural crisis ????