Success StoryMud and Drought Issues in One Growing Season



Mud and Drought Issues in One Growing Season

Author: Don Sorrell

Planning Unit: Campbell County CES

Major Program: Beef

Plan of Work: Improving the Productivity, Profitability and Sustainability of Agriculture Operations

Outcome: Intermediate Outcome


2019 was a year of ever changing weather events that have impacted the livestock industry in Northern KY in a very negative way. Winter /spring rains led to mud, poor nutrition, loss of body condition of animals and even death of livestock.  Rain continued through the month of June delaying hay harvest that resulted in late cutting hay as well as reduced yields and forage quality. The summer heat of July and August reduced second cutting yields. This was followed by excessive heat and dry weather during September and early August that stopped pasture growth and forced some farmers to start feeding hay two month earlier than normal. The Campbell County ANR agent has developed programs to address the issues of mud, poor hay quality and now drought stressed pastures.  

Mud control has been addressed with educational programs such as “ Year of Mud and Consequences”, and Winter Feeding Facilities Farm Tour. With the help of CAIP grants this program as led to at least 6 farmers constructing new winter feeding facilities. One of these producers lost 4 cows to poor hay and mud in March of 2019.  In addition a forage testing program has been implemented (with the help of Dr. Henning) to test forage quality of late cut hay. Forage analysis were used to develop winter feedjng rations to give farmers a specific feeding program that match up their hay and concentrate feeds to their cow’s needs.

The drought of September/October was addressed with newsletter articles as well as an educational program called “Dealing with the Drought of 2019.” This program laid out specific opportunities to improve fall pastures as well as dealing with reduced forage quality and quantity going into winter. Two farm tours allowed farmers to view winter feeding facilities. As a result of these programs at least seven farmers developed new feeding facilities to reduce hay feeding losses.   






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