Lack of rain problematic for dairy farmers
The lack of rainfall this July is a welcomed treat for many sun-lovers, but some dairy farmers are concerned about how it will affect their winter food supplies.
David Simmons, of Pure Holstein Dairy Farm in Little Rapids, says the lack of rain means there will be less feed for his 217 cows throughout the winter.
The Holstein cows have a specialized diet — feed that is heavily concentrated to increases milk production.
"If we don't have grass, the cows don't eat. And if the cows don't eat, the cows don't produce milk," Simmons said.
According to Simmons, the cows are capable of eating approximately six-and-a-half tonnes per day.
"Well for a dairy farmer, the sun is good for the corn and the sun is good for the grass, but we really need the moisture — and grass is a heavy consumer of moisture," Simmons said.
The limited levels of rain have caused some worry for the family-run operation.
"It turns us into a drought situation, where we won't get the grass growth that we need for the forage we need to get us through the winter," Simmons said.
The farmers cut the grass twice a year for their crop — once in June and again in August.
Simmons said if there isn't a sizeable amount of rain soon, there could be problems with the second crop.
"At this point, given the heat and the sun that we've had, we could easily use 60 millimetres of rain to sort of get us caught back up," he said.
"But even after that, we would need a consistent average rainfall until our second cut crop is ready."