Rainfall affects quality of cow feed for dairy farmers

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COLUMBIA - Dairy farmers will meet Friday morning to celebrate dairy month, but there may be a serious undertone with all the rainfall Missouri farms are receiving. 

Missouri Dairy Association Executive Director David Drennan said the rain affects many aspects of dairy farming.

"Feed quality," Drennan said. "Of course keeping our grass growing and we all know in the summer Missouri can get pretty hot and the grass takes a toll. We just hope, you know, the weather would just kind of, this water, this rain, would kind of spread out through the summer rather than get it all at once."

He said the rain is causing farmers to delay harvesting hay to feed the cows.

"Talking about the weather, you know, weather conditions like we've had here lately caused problems for our 4-H, for our hay that feeds the cows, it's been tough for guys to get the hay cut and bailed up because it's raining every other day," he said.

Drennan said if farmers don't get hay cut on time, it diminished the quality of the hay.

"If they don't eat well, they aren't going to produce milk well," he said.

Drennan said a group of dairy organizations will meet Friday at the University of Missouri Foremost Dairy Farm.

"Attendees are going to be a wide range of folks," Drennan said. "From state legislatures to department of agriculture people, allied industries folks, dairy farmers, university officials."

He said the group will talk about many topics, including the weather.

"We're going to talk about the impact of jobs on the state," Drennan said."What it means in jobs, what it means in economic development."

Drennan said there has been a decrease in Missouri dairy farms for a number of reasons. 

"Labor, economics, weather conditions," Drennan said. "You know I often say, when you look at all of agriculture, we depend on the weather more than any other industry except maybe for golf."