Farmers no stranger to current dry spell

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 5:10 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - The recent spell of dry weather is impacting our lawns, but what about farmers who rely on rain for their livelihood?

It really depends on what they’re growing. For example, crop farmers are loving the dry weather because they have a chance to get out there and get their harvest in. Others, however, could use a rain shower or two.

Ashton Cottingham is part of a billion dollar cattle industry in Alabama. A Bibb County cattleman, Cottingham oversees 200 cows and 1,000 acres of land. This is the time of year when Cottingham’s cattle spend their days grazing pasture grass.

“We have noticed some drought conditions. Normally this time of year, we have stockpiled grass and we’re using that up, days are getting shorter. We’re not losing sleep. It’s the time of year for the grass to quit growing,” said Cottingham.

Mary Wilson with ALFA says the dry weather is mostly impacting farmers who grow cotton or peanuts.

“Those could use a shower. All the farmers would love maybe an tenth of an inch or two-tenths of an inch of rain to loosen up the dirt a little bit. They could use just a little shower, but not too much,” said Wilson.

Dry or not, it’s par for the course for farmers anywhere. Ashton Cottingham knows all about it. He’s a fifth generation cattleman.

“We’re ready for these kinds of things, we spend all summer harvesting hay,” said Cottingham.

“You just know mother nature will never give you an absolutely perfect scenario. This is one of those where the farmer could say ‘yeah, we’d like a little rain, but it is not a crisis situation or anything like that,” said Wilson.

Especially when you consider Hurricane Ian chose a different path and had no effect on Alabama farmers. Thankful, grateful, all is quiet on the farm.

Although it’s dry, at least it’s not a scorcher. Back in the summer, Cottingham’s cows were drinking around 25 gallons of water per day.

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