Record heat, drought causing problems for north AL farmers, ranc - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Record heat, drought causing problems for north AL farmers, ranchers

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)
(WAFF) -

It may be fall, but it still feels a lot like summer outside. Tuesday reached 90 degrees to beat record heat that's stood for decades. That, paired with north Alabama's drought issues, is causing problems for local farmers and ranchers. 

The last significant rainfall we saw in the Tennessee Valley was on Aug. 26. Creeks and ponds have visibly dried up across north Alabama from the heat and lack of rainfall. It’s a serious issue for farmers and ranchers.

Some farmers are already feeding their livestock hay because their fescue and rye grass isn't growing because of the heat and the drought. Athens farmer and rancher David Ruf said a bale of hay costs him about $50.

He's more than two months ahead of when he would normally start feeding his livestock hay, so Ruf is currently spending thousands of extra dollars a month than he normally would.

“Cattle are already at a low price, and this is how we make our living. If we don’t have a product to sell, then we don’t have a way to put food on the table,” Ruf said.

Ruf said he's never seen the pond on his property as low as it is right now. He said because we haven't seen rain in so long, the ground is really hard. So if we get a downpour soon, it won't soak into the ground properly. That’s another problem he'd have to face.

Other problems he and many other folks in the Tennessee Valley face include cattle not giving as much milk as they should, and chickens not consuming as much feed as they normally would.

Additionally, creeks and ponds that ranchers' animals drink from are visibly dried up, so ranchers are having to move their animals to different areas to get good drinking water.

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