11:32 AM EST, December 13, 2012
PITTSYLVANIA CO., Va.
Our lack of rain this year may end up costing you more for meats and dairy products next year.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has continued a drought watch advisory in our area and added more northern Virginia counties to the watch.
It's obviously news, farmers with livestock in Southern Virginia like Donnie Moore don't like.
This year he's feeding this corn and supplement mixture to cattle more often.
The grass his family has paid hundreds of dollars to keep healthy isn't working.
"With a normal weather pattern this grass ought to be lush and growing but like you said, if you look at it, look how yellow, it's got a yellow tint to it," Moore said. "It's almost starving for water cause it's not; the fertilizer is there, it's just no water."
Dry conditions have forced feed prices to spike, buyers aren't purchasing as many cows because of it, and farm ponds used for irrigation aren't filling up.
The drought he's experience for three years is getting worse.
"All these cows are pretty much maintaining. It's no way for them to put on a lot of weight with out some extra supplement," Moore said.
The latest measurements from the National Weather Service shows
Pittsylvania County is down 16 inches from what normally falls.
Roanoke and Lynchburg have lost between 9 and 12 inches, and Blacksburg is down five.
Jamie Stowe, a Virginia Extension Agent, says the drought could have long term effects.
"It effects conception rates when we're trying to re-breed those animals. If we take them to the market, it effects the price at the market because they're thin," Stowe said.
Next year is already looking bad. Farmers are preparing fields for corn and hay.
Nutrients are so lacking and the ground is hard. They believe crop yields will be down.
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