Farmers in the Ozarks worried about a dry start to summer

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 10:00 PM CDT
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SHELL KNOB, Mo. (KY3) - Farmers in the Ozarks face another hardship. A dry season is forcing them to adapt even more as the price of everything goes up.

Farmer Matt McCullough said the soil is not rich.

“Cut a hayfield yesterday, actually, and underneath, It’s just, it’s brown,” said McCullough. “It’s just terrible. Some of the worst that we’ve seen for sure.”

From high gas prices to fertilizer to feed, adding a drought to the mix makes this summer for farmers rough.

McCullough said the dry start to summer is impacting all kinds of farmers.

”Any kind of crop that you’re on, whether it be calves, whether it be corn, soybeans, whatever you’re growing.”

National Weather Service officials said Springfield received 1.95 inches of rain in June, far below our normal average of 4.47 inches.

McCullough said the dryness is affecting their output.

”Our hay crop is down 30 to 40%,” said McCullough.

In this abnormally dry season, McCullough sometimes said it is not worth the fuel costs to bring out the tractor and mow the field. He said he needs 500 hay bales for the winter, which he can get during his second cutting in the fall, but that might not happen with no rain.

”To get through the winter, we’re going to have to do something, whether it be purchase hay from an outside source,” said McCullough. “We’re worried about the cost.”

McCullough said he usually sells hay bales to other farmers, but this year he won’t be able to afford to sell any because he and his cattle need it for the winter.

But help could be on the way. McCullough said if the drought gets any worse, the government will stop in with assistance to help farmers and ranchers survive.

”You can use that money to buy hay, buy grain, whatever you need to get through the winter if you’re not producing,” said McCullough.

The farmer said not using as much fertilizer as usual hurts farmers as well, but they always come back strong.

”What do you say? What’s that word I’m looking for? Resilient,” said McCullough. ”Farmers in general, very, very resilient, and we’re going to get through it.”

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