LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The U.S. drought monitor now showing more than 70 percent of Arkansas in a moderate drought. With no significant rainfall in the forecast, cattle producers are already feeling the burn and they're worried what's to come.
Matt Flynt is just one of many cattle producers in Arkansas hoping for rainfall. In the past two months, he says the ground moisture for his grazing grass and hay has been depleted and summer hasn't even begun.
He says, "That prohibits the ability to grow your forage, to grow the grass that you need to graze your cattle and to make hay to feed your cattle through the winter."
With low ground moisture Flynt says most hay producers he knows are already behind on their hay production for the year and their winter stockpile may be needed this summer.
Flynt says, "Our pastures are getting into drought situations. Our grasses are getting weaker and aren't growing, so the grass we need to graze from now through the summer is dwindling and we're faced with the problem of having to feed our livestock hay."
The other option is to sell their herds. Flynt says many producers are already planning to weed out livestock in order to save feed for the winter. He says, "Having to be in a situation where you have to liquidate all or a portion of your cow herd is very devastating for the livestock producer because herdsmen have spent many years producing the genetic base that they have."
And Flynt says the trickle down effect will ultimately affect all of us at the grocery store. He says, "Drought situations no matter where they are in the country, they effect everybody, they don't just effect the producer, they don't just effect the people in the livestock business or the agriculture business, it affects the consumer."