Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter weather wreaking havoc on dairy farms; farmers forced to dump milk supplies

A rough winter weekend had some dairy farmers crying over spilled milk. In Kentucky, where some areas received more than a foot of snow on Friday and Saturday, farmers were forced to throw out milk because hazardous roads made it impossible to deliver supplies to stores, Katie Batey reports for the Glasgow Daily Times. Local farmers, who said they have to milk the cows regardless of whether or not it can be delivered to stores, said supplies can only be kept for three days before running the risk of growing bacteria. That led one farm to throw out 30,000 pounds of milk and another to dump 12,000 pounds, resulting in thousands of dollars of lost profits. (Glasgow Daily Times photo; Dairy farmers dumping milk this weekend)

A storm earlier this month near Lubbock, Texas—home to 36 percent of the state's dairy cows—meant some farmers had to go two days between milking, as opposed to three times per day, Josie Muscio reports for the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. That storm also "killed about 5 percent of the region’s mature dairy cows and a yet-unknown number of calves and heifers, according to the Texas Association of Dairymen."

Farmers in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan say they have to milk cows regularly, despite frigid temperatures, Harri Leigh reports for Upper Michigan's Source. Dairy farmer Terry Debacker, who said it takes six to seven hours to complete the farm's daily 60 to 70 pounds of milking, told Leigh, "Winter's a big issue; I mean, there's lots of things that freeze up that you have to make sure they unfreeze. You have to make sure your tractors are plugged in. Otherwise you can create some very long hours."

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