Small amounts of rain mean big difference to dairy farmers
MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY- LeCow Dairy is the last of its kind in McCracken County. The 120 acre dairy farm is family owned and operated. It is where Lesa Clark spent her childhood.
"If the cows are happy, we're happy," she explained of the operation.
But keeping the cows happy and healthy during the drought was no easy task for the 5th generation dairy farmer.
"It felt like my world was falling apart, these cows have been here since I was a little girl," Clark said.
But as the fields got dryer, the days got tougher. Clark could no longer rely on the pastures to sustain her cows.
In order to keep up their weight and make sure the cows produced enough milk, Clark was feeding the cows two times a day. The feed is a combination of corn, alfalfa, and oats- all things that doubled in price since the drought began.
The price of hay skyrocketed too. But, Clark did have reserves. She planned on feeding it to the cows starting this fall, but they have been eating on it since June.
In the end, Clark estimates she shelled out an additional $200 a day during the past several months to keep her operation up and running.
It is why she was looking, literally, for greener pastures. Now, thanks to 5 inches of rain in the past month she has them.
The amount is nearly double the amount of rainfall LeCow Dairy saw all summer, "It's an answer to a prayer."
And the cows, "They're happy."
The increase in rain could be enough to resurrect some crops that were planted more recently. McCracken County's farm extension agent Douglas Wilson tells Local 6 some soybeans and wheat might fare better than expected. But, he says, it is still too early to tell just what those yields will bring.