Sunday, September 2, 2012

Drought 2012

Who knew in the last post that more than the fruit farmers would be using crop insurance this year...that's if they have it.  It's been very hot and dry!  A total turn around from last year when they needed to use it then too but for completely different reasons.  

Things have been a bit rough here as well.  No rain means no grass and when all you do is grass feed your animals you don't want the grass to run out!  There are no grain back ups here.  Hay is hard to find and when you do find it, it's super expensive.

I have heard it's the worse drought in 50 years but then I've also heard it's the worse drought ever (for Ohio).  Not sure which is right but either way, it's pretty serious.

Here's a small glimpse in what has been happening with other farms in Ohio.

While late rains have helped some 
crops recover, for many farmers 
across Ohio, the damage was
 already done. 

Buckeye Farm News
A difficult drought — a clear reminder of the risk involved in farming — continues to trouble Midwestern farmers.

Ohio has been spared from the drought’s most extreme damage, but many of the state’s farmers are expecting losses more severe than in recent memory.

More than 180 Ohio farmers had shared their drought observations and concerns through an informal Ohio Farm Bureau survey in July. Here are quotes and figures they shared as of the end of July.

Losses Forecasted
“The corn is beyond help at this point. Hay fields are browned out.... 18 bales from a 2nd cutting field.”
Survey respondents said they expect yield losses around 48 percent for corn, 35 percent for soybeans, 7 percent for wheat and 42 percent for hay compared to average.

“We farmers must find a way to make our reduced income stretch for a whole year, then be able to afford to plant a new crop next year, and finally pray that this kind of thing doesn’t happen 2 years in a row.”

Respondents predict they will lose about 39 percent of their farm income this year.

“There are the four major crops in Ohio but the specialty crops are also hurting, these crops are those that feed our food banks.”

Other yield loss estimates ranged from 35 to 50 percent for most fruits and vegetables, with possible higher amounts for pumpkins, and some total losses at fruit farms also affected by freezing weather this spring.

Feeding Livestock
“Livestock producers are in jeopardy because feed costs are higher and there is less of our own feed for use.”

Sixty-five percent of livestock farmers said feed supplies will not be sufficient. 

Seventy-two percent will purchase more feed than normal.

Livestock farmers expect to pay 38 percent more than their annual budget for feed. Thirty-six percent are concerned water supplies may run short, while 19 percent said they will “definitely run short.”

Emergency Haying and Grazing
“The drought is serious now but the real impact on our type of farming will be the shortage of hay for the fall, winter and spring months.”

Twenty-four percent of farmers said they would benefit from Emergency Haying and Grazing provisions for acreage enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, which USDA authorized for all of Ohio in late July.

Crop Insurance
“Farming today is completely different than our fathers’ era. We have crop insurance and marketing tools available today that our younger generation will use to run a successful operation. Again, it’s all about managing risk. Sometimes that’s easier said than done though.”

While 62 percent of survey respondents said they find non-insured crop disaster assistance programs useful, many indicated increased interest in crop insurance programs.

Farmers with crop insurance said about 41 percent of their production losses and 38 percent of their income losses this year will be covered by crop insurance.

“Our farm has always strived to produce a little more than we need. Most years this is a headache but this year we will be using this surplus. Farmers should be responsible enough to plan ahead and insure their crop to sustain themselves.”

Forty-five percent with crop insurance said their agents have been “very helpful” during this drought period, while 39 percent of respondents had yet to talk with a crop insurance agent.

 full article -

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