Jefferson County cattle farmer feeling impact of extreme summer heat
By Lauren Harksen, WTOK-TV (MS)
Jul. 29, 2022
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Central Alabama has experienced plenty of extreme heat, along with heat advisories this summer. It’s hitting some farmer’s livelihoods too. Whether they are growing crops or raising animals, the temperatures are having an impact.
The extreme heat causes a mood shift in livestock and a local farmer says cattle don’t want to eat and graze in the intense temperatures. They go seek shade instead.
“For livestock especially, most of those have to battle the heat,” said Stevan Parsons. “They have thick skin. They want to seek shade in the daytime and eat at night because it’s cooler so it’s definitely affected the amount of consumption of grass that they put on.”
Parsons is the mayor of Sylvan Springs and a cattle farmer in Jefferson County. He’s also a veterinarian and the president of Jefferson County Farmers Federation.
He says when they don’t eat enough grass, they don’t gain enough weight.
“The longer we keep them on the property and have to feed them -- we’re losing money,” said Parsons.
According to the farmer, the goal is to fatten up the cattle within 90 days to send them to market. He adds they are about 15-20% behind right now.
While they normally grow their own hay, Parsons says the Alabama weather hurt that too.
“Because of the fact of some of the drought early on and some of the intense heat, we haven’t had the quality of grass as we’ve needed,” he said...