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Dry weather causing problems for Maritime cattle farmers

Reference: CTV News

KARS, N.B. -- Dry weather is taking a toll on some farmers who now are finding themselves in a difficult situation, with their yields of hay down significantly.

Dairy farmers like Gilbert Matheson are facing unusually dry conditions this growing season.

Hay for instance, an important source of food for their herds, is way down.

“We’re going to be snug this year on supply,” says Matheson. “Our first cut turned out not terrible, but not great. Our second cut is down, I’m going to say, 25%. That still leaves a third cut, so there’s a little bit of hope that we’re going to get a good third cut.”

Matheson is the vice-chair of Dairy Farmers New Brunswick, and says many farmers are telling him their hay cut is down by 50%.

Holding onto the hope that the season may turn around and rain will wash away the drought in much of the Maritimes.

In Pembroke, N.B., Tim Livingstone, co-owner of Strawberry Hill Farm, says this is the driest he’s seen things since they bought their farm in 2011.

Their hay crop is down between a third and a half of what is normal for them.

“The corn you’re looking at is doing alright, because it grew while it had moisture and the roots are down deep enough,” says Livingstone. “The hay crops are probably the most worrying, I’ve never seen pastures that turn brown in the summer.”

Lower than usual yields on hay means some are seeking it out to buy, and some are even selling off their cattle.

“I was talking to one farm that said they’re short on hay, and so they sold off some extra heifers,” says Matheson. “They didn’t feel they need them all, so they sold the extras rather than buy hay to feed them, and there’s a lot of farms looking to buy hay as well.”... Read More