Wet weather means feed trouble for livestock - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Wet weather means feed trouble for livestock

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Leanna Compagna has worked on a farm for most of her life. She's worried about the wet weather that just won't let up.

"In the years I've been farming with my dad, I've never seen it this bad," she says.

And it's taking its toll on their pastures at Scholten Farm.

"The cows going out to pasture are really destroying it right now, because they are puncturing holes into the grass, and where you see the mud is, the grass doesn't grow back," she says.

This means there's less grass. And Compagna has had to dip into feed reserves.

"We're feeding out some of our winter feed right now, to supplement the pastures in order to get enough nutrition into these cows," she says.

The muddy pasture is causing some cows to get mastitis and hoof rot. It's impacting their general immunity.

"When you compromise their immunity, it also compromises their milk production," Compagna explains.

Wet pastures aren't the only problem. All of this rain means the corn is suffering too. The higher areas of the fields are doing okay, but as soon as we move to spots where there's some standing water, it's just not doing very well.

"Corn is a big component for feed animals, livestock," says Jeff Carter, an agronomy specialist at the UVM Extension in Middlebury. "These yellow plants are not going to respond. They're not really going to produce a crop. The good green plants you see on the top, they'll produce a crop."

Farmers can't get onto their corn fields to fertilize.

"If we run into a shortage of corn silage feed, there's not an option to go but it at the store. So then we have to substitute purchasing corn grain from the midwest," Carter explains.

The rain also means many hay fields are inaccessible. And cutting is not an option.

"We'd prefer to harvest these plants when they're much younger," he says.

Because if grass grows too high, it starts to seed, impacting its quality. And that's not good news for livestock.

All around there's no doubt that this season has been rough for local farmers. There's just not enough dry weather.

"This has been going on for over a month now and that's really what's hurting us," Compagna says.

But some, like Leanna Compagna, are doing their best to look ahead during this difficult time.

"We're trying to stay hopeful," she says. 

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