Ala. farmers tap into reservoir of resiliency against heat wave

Ala. farmers tap into reservoir of resiliency against heat wave
The drought is taking a toll on Alabama cattlemen. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

LOWNDES COUNTY Ala. (WSFA) - It is so dry, you could leave a dusty trail on Bradfield Evans’ farm near Hope Hull. He’s a third-generation farmer, a cattleman on a spread covering 3,000 acres just inside the Lowndes County line.

At 37, Evans is seasoned enough to know dry spells happen every now and then, but that doesn’t mean facing them gets any easier.

“There are life lessons every day," he admitted. “You develop a lot of resiliency.”

The young cattleman is among the fortunate ones, so far. He has enough hay for his 800 cows but will need to be careful with the amount he parcels out over the winter.

“So, we’ll be digging into our reserves a lot sooner than we had hoped for," he said.

Even with a fresh bale nearby, the cows didn’t budge from their shade. It’s a clear sign they too know the heat is bearing down.

For farmers like Bradfield Evans, the drought is pushing them to tap into hay that was reserved for the winter months.
For farmers like Bradfield Evans, the drought is pushing them to tap into hay that was reserved for the winter months. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

“Seems like ever since July 4th, I haven’t seen much moisture at all," Evans said.

The ten watering holes on the property are also showing signs of the drought. One pond is at least four and a half feet below normal, not a good sign considering each cow drinks around 25 gallons of water a day.

“It definitely is what it is, but it doesn’t mean we’re not nervous," said Evans.

For now, cattlemen and hay growers like Evans are left twisting in the wind, wondering will it rain again anytime soon.

If farmers get in dire straights with a hay shortage, they do have the option of checking out the Alabama Department of Agriculture’s website and buying hay from other producers.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.