Monday, June 13, 2011

It doesn't rain in the summer in Maryland anymore...

As we enter our 5 straight year of summer drought here in Maryland, every day I read about extreme weather all around the country and the world.

I wonder how people can still blindly deny that climate change (or global weirding as I like to call it) doesn't exist when the evidence is all around us? Of course, some of that is this misnomer of 'global warming' which oversimplifies the idea that global weather patterns will become more erratic and extreme.

All around us is news of extreme weather - tornados in Maryland and Massachusetts, flooding up and down the Mississipi River and droughts and wildfires in Texas and Arizona.

Of course for us, rain equals grass, which is what our ruminants eat. Without it, we end up having to feed hay.

This past spring, all we had was rain and more rain. But for the past month, we've had nothing but extremely high temps and no rain.

For the last 3 years, we've fed hay every July and August.

What that means of course is higher costs for us and our customers.

So far, this year looks no different than the previous four - a very wet winter and spring with bitter cold and heavy snowfall, followed by hot, very dry summer months.

This changes our business model into one where supplemental feed is require for 6 or more months out of the year - winter and summer.

Also, because our animals are coming out of a very dry summer season, they eat down the fall flush and we have no 'stockpiled' grass for early winter grazing.

As farmers, we watch the weather every day and right now, we're praying for rain!

We've had nothing but heat and dry weather for over 3 weeks now, the pastures are starting to brown, and the sheep and goats are hungry! I look forward to the months of July and August with a vague sense of dread :(

3 comments:

  1. It's now the end of August and until this past week it has continued to be dry and hot. We have 35 chickens and lost one and almost another due to the extreme heat. It has been tough on all things animal or vegetable. We bought six chickens from your farm in the spring and they are doing well. Keep up the good work and don't forget to throw in a rain dance from time to time.
    -Todd
    our farm blog: www.LittleLuceyFarm.com

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  2. Boy this is sad about the lack of summer rains and that this drives up the costs, what a bummer.

    Very much enjoyed discovering your website and reading through the blog. What your doing is my dream in many ways, but still have two kids left at home with on away at college so stuck in SF for a few more years.
    Gardening is my outlet and keeping as many animals as I can sneak by with in our apartment.
    http://barefoot-gardener.blogspot.com/

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  3. Nice Blog ! Thank you for your very nice articles. I look forward to visiting your site in the future! I like this very much.
    Methods of Modern Farming

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