Drought takes toll on Missouri farmers' crops, cattle

1 month 1 day 8 hours ago Sunday, August 19 2018 Aug 19, 2018 Sunday, August 19, 2018 11:44:16 AM CDT August 19, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Parts of Missouri are so dry that corn crops are suffering and hay for cattle is in short supply, with water becoming increasingly scarce, experts say.

Missouri has had below-average rainfall since winter. The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that nearly all of Missouri is experiencing drought, with several counties in the northwestern part of the state facing "exceptional" conditions — the most dire classification assigned by the monitor. Conditions were nearly as bad elsewhere along the northern tier and in southwestern Missouri.

Much of the western U.S. is also experiencing drought. But Missouri is the only Midwestern state with such severe conditions. Parts of Kansas also are extremely dry, but most of Illinois and Nebraska, and the northern half of Iowa, are drought-free.

"That isolated nature really hurts some corn growers because they're competing against other farmers in the Midwest that have had bumper crops," said Mark Fuchs, hydrologist for the National Weather Service office near St. Louis. "That puts a lot of them on the brink of financial ruin."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists soil moisture as "short" or "very short" in four-fifths of the state. As for Missouri's corn crop, nearly half of it was listed as poor or very poor, according to the most recent USDA progress report. Only about a quarter was listed as good or excellent.

The drought has also hurt pastures, with about three-quarters in poor or very poor conditions, according to the USDA report. Many pastures haven't been able to support grazing cattle, prompting farmers to feed cattle with hay that might normally be saved for winter. It's also hurt the hay crop, which is down about one-third from normal.

"It has been a very bad summer following a very bad winter as far as the feed supply," said Eldon Cole, a University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist out of Mt. Vernon. "The winter was so long last year they had to feed hay until April. That caused them to run out of hay, and then we didn't have a good growing season."

Kent Arnaud, 57, said this year's drought may be the worst since 1980 at the 1,500-acre (607-hectare) cattle farm he operates with his father and son near Monett in southwestern Missouri. Arnaud said he and his relatives are scrambling to find enough feed for the cattle over the winter. They've even sold off some calves early so they won't have to feed them in the cold-weather months. The calves are typically sold in November or December.

"Unless we get an awfully good fall, we're going to be pretty nervous going into the winter," Arnaud said. "We need several rounds of soaking rain and cooler temperatures."

Some farmers unable to sell drought-damaged corn were using it for cattle feed, Cole said.

The weather forecast offers some hope. Fuchs said most of Missouri is expected to get at least an inch (2.5 centimeters) of rain over the next week or so, and some especially dry areas in northern and southern Missouri could see 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain.

"If we could squeeze that out of the atmosphere, that would certainly be helpful," Fuchs said.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - After being inactive for nearly a year, the Missouri Board of Education is launching a search for... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 7:06:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - State Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, is changing the way she is fundraising after an ethics complaint and... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:17:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department was on the scene of a double shooting Wednesday afternoon. Police... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:00:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Some people living in Columbia's southside neighborhoods say thieves, using creative technology, are stealing from cars. Haley... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 5:28:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As Welcome Home marks the first anniversary of its new shelter, a once drug-addicted veteran is artfully finding... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 4:19:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
FULTON- After the State Auditor's report that more local money could go to domestic violence shelters, one survivor reiterated the... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:52:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Wednesday morning firefighters burned a simulated dorm room burn on the MU campus to show students how quickly... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:13:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY – Cole County ended its economic development contract with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. The... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
MEXICO - Sen. Claire McCaskill has announced she will oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. McCaskill's... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:30:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A former prosecutor and chairman of Missouri's Democratic Party has been sentenced to two years and... More >>
16 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:55:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department ruled a Wednesday morning fire as suspicious. There were no injuries, but the... More >>
16 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:28:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As rivers are still rising in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, donations are also flooding in. However,... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:01:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
SEDALIA (AP) — A Kansas City man has pleaded guilty in the fatal shooting of another man at a trailer... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 12:51:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The search for Missouri's next top education official has begun. The State Board of Education... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 11:24:10 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
FULTON - UPDATE: Police have found the two boys who escaped from the Division of Youth Services. Police said... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 10:38:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
HOWARD COUNTY - Two people are dead and two others injured after a crash on Highway 87 Tuesday afternoon. ... More >>
20 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 9:51:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COOPER COUNTY - Anthony Martin died in a crash in Cooper County on Sunday after losing control of his motorcycle.... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:57:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A Columbia woman was taken to the Lake Regional Hospital on Sunday after a crash involving a... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:39:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 74°
7am 75°
8am 77°
9am 81°
10am 85°