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Extra-dry conditions impact hay, other crops

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: May 08 2014 04:29:58 PM CDT
Updated On: May 08 2014 04:26:00 PM CDT

We're headed for being 5 inches below normal for rainfall, and that really has a big impact down on the farm.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. -

We're headed for being 5 inches below normal for rainfall, and that really has a big impact down on the farm.

We learned that the Tennessee Valley Authority would be holding some of their reservoirs down because of the rain deficit, and this year's wildfire season was a little longer. It's all because of the lack of spring rainfall.

But nowhere is the lack of rain felt more than down on the farm. Down on the Squibb Farm in Washington County, Tennessee, they're hard at work getting the first cutting of hay in with the hope that when they cut the second cutting, rainfall will be better. "We're hoping if it does start, the second cutting will be better than the first. Right now we're at, maybe at best, a half a crop on the first cutting of hay," hay farmer Wesley Squibb said.

Some of the worry started long before the hay crop started coming in when we had a late freeze. "This time of year it's extremely dry. Nothing is growing right now. The freeze about a month or so ago really stunted everything, and no rain after that, it's just really taking a toll on the crops," Squibb says.

Squibb is growing hundreds of acres of hay and a grain crop for the straw. The straw he sells grew a little better because it was planted last fall, but less hay makes it tough for other farmers who depend on it. "It gets tough, especially when you depend on the hay to feed your cattle through the whole winter. Right now even with the cattle I've got, I don't know that we'll have enough left over. We might be looking for hay," he said.

And that comes from a hay farmer.

Hay is not the only thing affected, Squibb has 140 acres of corn out waiting for rain. "There are a lot of farmers around already planting beans and corn. We're hoping we get some beneficial rain soon. It can only lay there so long," he says.

Remember -- what goes on down on the farm has a direct impact on the prices we pay at the grocery store.