LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The ponds are dry, there is nowhere to graze and cattlemen across the state are looking for ways to feed their herds. More than 75 percent of grass in Arkansas pastures has been severely impacted by this year's drought and may not recover.
Arkansas cattlemen started feeding their herds hay in the middle of the summer this year, something that rarely happens until winter time. The problem they face now is a shorter supply of hay for the winter but a unique solution, with the help row crop farmers, may help turn their luck around.
"They're not hard to round up, too many hungry mouths," says Dorothy Hall, owner of D&J Hall Farms.
The rumble of her tractor tells her herd it's feeding time.
"This hay right now will keep them two days spread out like this and we're going to force them to clean up every bit of it because we're rationing it right now," says Hall. "Even though that pasture is green, as you can see, there is hardly anything left for them to eat. They've eat it to the ground."
The summer drought has brought several problems to Hall's farm, from dry ponds to dry grass and now little hope of hay for the winter.
"It's too little too late to get the maximum growth we need in these pastures," says Hall.
So she is turning to a field in Biscoe where her feeding problem may be solved.
"This is a field of milo that we will start cutting this weekend to supplement our feed for our cattle operation," says Hall.
For three years now, Hall has cut this field after harvest and baled it to feed her herd.
"We've baled it as more of a supplement to nutrient value and just to supplement the amount of hay we had for the cows but this year, we're going to be depending on it for our main hay throughout the winter," says Hall.
Not only has the drought made for tough hay production, Hall says the price of grain is going up every day.
"We buy our grain in bulk, ten tons to the order usually and it went up a thousand dollars from one order to our current order that we just made this week," says Hall.
Now, what remains of this freshly harvested milo field, will serve as a source of protein for her nearly hundred head of cattle.
"There is a difference in the nutrient content from some of the row crop that you might use such as corn stalks, rice, stuble and milo so those have to be weighed," says Hall.
It is a unique solution to nationwide problem and one Hall expects will catch on fast.
"You're almost going to have to consider something like this to supplement," says Hall.
Cattlemen looking to bale row crops may need to test them for nitrates and other toxicity issues before using them as feed.
As for those rising grain prices, Hall says those are mainly due to the drought issues the Midwestern states are facing with their corn crops and we all should expect some escalating food prices.
For cattlemen and row croppers looking to connect, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service serves as a great source with their Hay Producer Directory.
You can also get information from the Arkansas Farm Bureau.
You can also follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaHutsonTHV.