08 August 2012
Drought Conditions Affecting Dairy Production
How Del Norte and Humboldt counties fare in today's drought climate
As you may have seen on local and national news, there is a heat wave causing massive droughts throughout the United States. June of 2012 has been recorded as being the tenth driest June on record since 1895. The outcome of a lack of rain during the winter months has caused many major crops -- such as corn, soy and wheat -- to underproduce during the summer months. Farms across the U.S., especially those in the Southern and Midwestern regions, have suffered from these weather conditions. Crop farmers are not the only ones feeling the heat, as dairies are also underproducing. Heat stress is a common issue with dairy cows, and the temperatures directly affect the amount and quality of milk produced.
According to a publication by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture the milk yields see a decline in quality and amount at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Moderate signs of heat stress "include rapid shallow breathing, profuse sweating and an approximately 10 percent decrease in milk production and feed intake by cows."
Luckily, the Northwest has seen very little of the drought conditions that the rest of the U.S. is experiencing. Del Norte and Humboldt counties have had little to no drought conditions at all.The dairies that supply Rumiano Cheese's milk are all located in the aforementioned counties and have been fortunate enough to avoid any abnormal levels of heat stress for their cows. The yearly average temperature in Del Norte and Humboldt counties is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, making the location prime real estate for dairy cows. The low temperatures and naturally growing grasses allow for year round feeding without the worry of overworking and overheating the cows to the levels that are seen across the states that are suffering from drought today.
Rumiano Cheese Company is fortunate to have such a mild climate for milk production and is very empathetic for those suffering from the current drought conditions across the United States.