Farmers: Rain is too little too late


Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - David Dycus

McCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. — Cattle farmer Jim Wurth's patience for rain is running thin.

"Water is probably our number one concern because I mean they are just like us," he said of his cattle. "That's what they use to cool themselves. This particular farm here, the ponds dried up, so they are actually drinking well water.

This year's record heat is also drying up his 100 acres of pasture. He had to separate his cows and cut back on the number that are grazing the fields.

"In a typical year, we could carry 35 cows on this farm," Wurth said. "We've only got half that number here and we're out of grass."

He's running out of hay, too. He tapped into his spring supply and fears there won't be any for the winter.

"If this remains like this, we've got another three months hay supply," he said. "There will be nothing to eat."

Wurth isn't alone. Michael Seaton's Kevil, Kentucky corn is showing signs of distress.

"Take the two weeks of the 100-degree weather and the corn just did not pollinate the way that it should," Seaton said.

Much of his 750 acres of corn aren't in the shape to put to market. He said he'll probably only harvest a fourth of it.

"This area usually makes a 150, 200 bushels to the acre and I don't know for sure what to expect," he said. "I'm just hoping, looking at a 40-bushel-an-acre corn crop."

Seaton and Wurth are hoping for more rain but they said the damage is already done. They're just waiting now to see just how bad the heat and drought will be on their livelihood.

"It's pretty much reach the point of no return," Seaton said.

Wurth told Local 6, "If it does start raining, unless the temps cool, there's no chance for the pasture at all."