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Biggest problem for farmers this winter: mud

This year’s winter weather — with both warm and cold temperatures and more rain than snow — seems likely to impact livestock farmers the most. 

Jerry Little, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent for the Boyle County Cooperative Extensive Service, said the biggest thing famers are having to deal with this winter is mud. 

Livestock farmers are fighting mud and “that’s a problem,” he said. 

He said farmers have to walk through mud to get to their livestock and the livestock sinks into the mud, making farmers’ jobs harder. 

“The farmers are tired of fighting the mud,” Little said, noting it’s the biggest complaint he’s heard from local farmers.

The temperature swings are also a problem, he said. 

When the temperature isn’t cold enough for the ground — and mud — to freeze, farmers struggle to keep the livestock on top of the ground, Little said. 

When it gets to the point where the temperatures drop for a longer period of time and freeze the mud, they will be able to keep up with the livestock easier, he explained.

“We know we’ve had a mild winter,” Little said. “There will be snow and it will cause the ground to freeze — hopefully.” 

As far as the amount of rain Kentucky has seen this winter, Little said the area had been too dry due to the lack of rain in the fall. 

“We were getting serious in the fall,” he said. 

Since there wasn’t as much rain in the fall, the grass didn’t grow as much, and since grass doesn’t grow in the winter, that has caused problems for feeding livestock, Little said. 

Livestock have to have water available, he said, and when the weather is cold, it’s hard to keep the water going to the livestock. 

Right now, Little said it’s been a fairly mild winter, but he knows things are going to change. 

“We’ve been pretty fortunate up until this point,” he said.