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Drought impacts local dairy production

Posted at 6:18 PM, Aug 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-02 18:18:33-04

It's meal time here at East Hills Farm in Warsaw, and grass is thankfully on today's menu. “To them, when they can harvest food that fresh, that's all the better for them,” said farmer, Ryan Burley. 

Burley’s family runs the farm. And according to him, Mother Nature hasn't been cooperating recently. “It's been a challenge. I'm only 28-years-old but I can't remember it this dry, ever.”

So, grass is at a premium for some 1500 cattle at the farm. Typically, Burley uses it and some corn to feed his livestock. This season though, he's spending time and money mixing hay and grains for an alternative food source. In fact, Burley says he has more hay on hand now compared to in the past. He's buying it from other area farms to supplement his grass supply.

“We'd have to be working twice as many acres and that's not feasibly possible with where we're at right not. So, we'll do what we have to survive here.” That also means increasing the cost of production. “Twice a day we're out taking feed, to the cows. So, we're paying a guy to do that. We're paying a machine to go out there and we're paying a truck to bring it in.”

Meaning, it's safe to say we'll likely see an increase in the price of local dairy products at the grocery store. Although Burley couldn't say by how much.

He's only hoping for more rain and greener pastures and soon.