Above normal temperatures can mean below average dairy production, and area dairy farmers have had their work cut out for them over the past few weeks.
“It’s a challenge. It’s 365 days out of the year. It takes a big family to keep things going,” said Deb Baker, co-owner of Baker’s Golden Dairy in New Waterford.
And when the heat and humidity soar, the crops and cattle need extra attention.
“You can fan them down. We have a mister at the south end of our barn that the cows like to stand under through the day,” Baker said.
The barn is also open on one side because no matter how much the heat stresses people out, it’s even worse for the cows. High heat and humidity make the cows produce less milk.
“Days like this we’ve had recently it don’t even take a week to be a significant downfall. It could be two, three days even. A cow, if she’s not eating properly, will probably drop up to at least 20 percent, maybe even more,” Baker said.
To put that into perspective, that’s more than two gallons per cow. For the dairy that just started bottling and selling its milk two years ago, it’s not an option to lose hundreds of gallons of milk a week.
Despite the constant challenges that come with farming, owners of the New Waterford dairy want to expand again.
“Playing the market on selling your crops is a big thing. You know, getting the right price for it. It can get high, it can go low. Same with the milk, and keeping that flow and keeping your cows healthy,” Baker said.
So it means more water and some extra nutrition in their food.