Georgia Cattlemen Face Drought, Hay Shortage

GEORGIA - Georgia's cattlemen have a lot to beef about this year. A drought since the spring has hurt pastures and forced some producers to reduce their herds because they don't have enough grass to graze them. Some had to purchase hay to sustain their herds, or use hay they would normally store for winter feeding.
calendar icon 18 September 2006
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Then they were hit by an unusually heavy invasion of army worms, voracious green caterpillars that can devour a lawn or pasture in days. Producers fought back with pesticides to save their scant supply of grass spared by the drought. The chemical warfare on worms was an unwelcome expense.

The drought alone has caused about $332 million in direct losses of hay and pasture in Georgia, but the total economic impact from reduced cattle sales, lost farm wages and other consequences could mean a total loss of $391 million to $572 million, according to the University of Georgia's Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

"We've gone from one crisis to another," said Woodbury cattleman Harvey Lemmon, a member of the Georgia Cattlemen's Association and chairman of the Georgia Beef Board. "We have been able to make about two-thirds of the hay we think we'll need. If it's a bad winter, we may not have enough."

Source: ABC 7 News

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