Transcript


New Market
Jefferson County Chuck Denney
UT Institute of Agriculture


Dr. Bob Coley
Jefferson County Farmer/Veterinarian
Jonathon Rhea
UT Extension


Dr. Daryll Ray
UT Ag Economist


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Chuck Denney
A few cows graze around Dr. Bob Coley’s New Market farm. We say a few because the beef producer and Veterinarian is now down to 35 cattle. He’s made a trip or two to the livestock barn this year, and not by choice.

Dr. Bob Coley
“We’ve sold a few and are going to have to sell a few more. Our cows are primarily fall calvers and we’re in the process of calving them now. We’ll have to end up selling some of these cattle before hay-feeding season.”

Chuck Denney
Dr. Coley named the problem. Jefferson County - like pretty much the entire state - suffered a barren summer where rainfall was just about non-existent. The lack of moisture and hot weather meant most farmers got just one cutting of hay in late spring. The ideal situation is for cattle to eat what’s growing in the ground in warm weather, and then you feed hay when it’s cold. But drought forced producers to use stored hay in summer, depleting winter forage supplies.

Dr. Daryll Ray
“Instead of building up their stock of hay, they’ve been using it. So that means they will have less hay this winter, and that means they’re going to have to have fewer livestock in order to survive.”

Chuck Denney
The latest Ag stats show 38-thousand cattle in Jefferson County. No one knows exactly how many are gone now, but it’s expected that at least a third of that number will be sold by the end of the year.

Jonathon Rhea
“95% of the people you talk to have already sold some cattle.”

Chuck Denney
UT Extension Director Jonathon Rhea wants to see large cattle herds in his county. He’s concerned this sell-off hurts the area economy.

Jonathon Rhea
“For every dollar that’s spent in our county on livestock revenue that’s brought in, 73 cents of that dollar stays in our county and is spent with a Veterinarian, a farmer supply store, a bank, grocery store or wherever. It will impact our county tremendously.”

Chuck Denney
There’s a chance Tennessee producers could get some hay from other states in coming weeks. Farmers should contact the UT Extension office in their county to check that. Meantime, it’s hoped that rain will fall this winter and coming spring, and some farmers may be able to buy back what they had to sell.

END

NOTE: So where did all those Tennessee cattle go? Many have been purchased by producers from Texas and several Midwestern states.